Los Angeles Pilots Swab Test for Marijuana DUI in California

As marijuana laws change rapidly across the country, health officials are struggling to determine how marijuana effects drivers, while law enforcement is working on new ways to test for Marijuana DUI.

"Not only do we not have consensus on the risk associated with the presence of marijuana - we don't have information on the crash risk for different amounts of marijuana," Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety told NPR, "We don't even have good information on how many drivers involved in fatal crashes test positive for marijuana. So there's a lot we don't know."

As health officials work on research to determine safety recommendations, law enforcement is working on new testing standards that could improve their ability to show marijuana as the cause of impairment for drivers. The city of Los Angeles recently received a federal grant to pilot a roadside oral swab test. The test screens a driver's saliva for the presence of seven drugs and provides instant results to law enforcement.

"This is a technique under which, in the field, at the time of the traffic stop, an officer can test the saliva of the driver and get an immediate result as to whether there are drugs present in his or her system," said City Attorney Mike Feuer. "The more commonly known it is that we have a quick and effective technique for determining that, the more I hope people are deterred from getting behind the wheel with drugs or alcohol in their system."

At this time, you can safely decline the roadside oral swab drug test and it has not been determined if the oral swab test results are admissible in court. However, you will likely be required to take a blood test in its place. Though the blood test is not required, refusal will result in an instant one-year suspension of your drivers license and law enforcement can still forcibly draw blood for the test.

In this video, attorney Chris Glew explains what you can expect if you are stopped for suspected Marijuana DUI in California.

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