Vermont is moving forward with plans to allow police officers to administer saliva tests to drivers who they believe are driving high.
They argue this is faster than making someone come in for a blood test, and it might not require a warrant like a blood test does. The only problem? A saliva test is essentially useless.
A saliva test can certainly find out if someone has consumed marijuana the day they’re tested, but there is absolutely no way for it to determine if someone is impaired. Medical marijuana users who have high tolerances may be found to have a ton of cannabis compounds present in their saliva—which may be because they consumed cannabis 10 hours before the test—without being even remotely impaired.
“This is not measuring impairment. It’s unscientific,” Chloe White, policy director for the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Burlington Free Press. “I don’t think anyone is in favor of impaired driving on the road. Impaired driving is bad… We want to make sure that people’s constitutional rights are protected.”
Luckily, Vermont has not backed the equally unscientific method of setting a limit on how much THC someone can have in their blood before they’re declared impaired, as Colorado and Washington have, but the saliva test is still a step in the wrong direction.
It’s fair to say it’s very difficult to determine the best way to determine when people are driving after consuming too much cannabis to be driving safely, but the answer is most definitely not to turn to pseudoscience. The best thing police officers can do at this point is to be highly trained for observing signs of intoxication. There will likely soon be a time when science can determine intoxication more accurately, but we’re not there yet, and we shouldn’t pretend to be.
Source: The 420 Times
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