On Monday morning at the State Capitol, Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) and Candace Lightner from Mothers Against Drugged Driving (MADD) are sponsoring a demonstration of a new roadside drug test that uses oral samples instead of blood, and that could be adopted by CA law enforcement agents if pending Assembly Bill 1356 is passed.
Dr. Christine Moore, a toxicologist with the manufacturer of the roadside Alere™ DDS®2 Mobile test, will test a medical marijuana user on-site, and will be available for questions. The Alere DDS2 screens for marijuana and other drugs of abuse in only 5 minutes using oral fluids.
Since there is no "per se" limit in California for levels of THC in the blood -- and since the new bill doesn't specify one -- AB 1356 would effectively be a "zero tolerance" law, meaning lots of non-impaired folks who may have smoked marijuana hours or days before will be ensnared in the trap.
The problem is that there isn’t a reliable test -- like breath testing for alcohol -- that can measure impairment for cannabis. The saliva tests used for roadside drug testing in only detect the presence of particular substances – a driver who tests positive is quite likely not impaired. (It’s also the case that many drugs that are known to cause impairment to driving ability are not tested for – including pharmaceutical medications like benzodiazepines and opiates.)
WHO: Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale