Now that marijuana is legal in California, people don’t have to hide their marijuana use — in fact, some are smoking it right in officers’ faces.
But these pot smokers aren’t being brazen. They’re actually helping police better detect impaired drivers on the road, CBS Los Angeles reported.
Glendale police Officer Bryan Duncan told the news station that about 75 percent of the DUI arrests he makes these days are drug impaired — “more cannabis than alcohol.”
A group of smokers recently gathered at a hotel where they were first given field sobriety tests, and then allowed to start smoking marijuana, Inside Edition reported. They later took sobriety tests for a second time to judge how the drug affected their mental and motor skill, the news outlet said.
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“Whether it’s lack of convergence in the eyes, divided attention issues, your ability to do two tasks at one time,” said Officer Duncan, CBS Los Angeles reported.
The “green labs” were launched in Colorado — where recreational marijuana became legalized in 2012 — in 2015 by Chris Halsor, Newsweek reported. Halsor is an attorney and the founder of Understanding Legal Marijuana, LLC, which provides training and consultation to public policy makers, law enforcement and other officials on the “intricacies” of legal marijuana.
Recreational marijuana use became legal in California at the start of this year.
Halsor told Newsweek that during the lab courses, which take place over the course of two days, volunteers are told to smoke enough pot “to get to a level where they would question their ability to safely drive a car.”
“That can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people, depending on their use,” he said. “So, even with that instruction, we typically get a spectrum of users within our volunteer group.”
Volunteers have been eager to take part in the courses, so pot users aren’t all treated the same, CBS Los Angeles reported.
“It’s different for everyone. If you’re an avid user and you use it more, it’s going to affect you differently,” said marijuana user Sebastian Dominguez told the news station. Dominguez added that he doesn’t get drive after smoking.
“If I’m high, I don’t want to drive,” said Villegas. “Like why? If I’m high, I just want to sit there.”
Halsor told Newsweek that while some may think the classes are “radical,” it’s important for police officers to be looking for impairment.
“What we don’t want happening is that in those states, which allow for the lawful possession and use of marijuana, we don’t want people who aren’t impaired getting arrested,” he said.
The green labs come as marijuana researchers begin educating officials and the public in California on the benefits and risks of the drug, The Sacramento Bee reported last month.