A special commission charged with finding a reliable method for testing and prosecuting drugged drivers in Massachusetts met on Aug. 10 to examine all types of impaired driving with the exception of alcohol, reports the Boston Herald.
One area of debate is whether or not the state’s current spit swab test to detect marijuana violates constitutional rights.
Presently, state police are reviewing the saliva test, but some members of the special commission believe that it raises serious questions about search, seizure, due process, privacy and consent, notes the report.
Because of the lack of chemical tests for drug intoxication similar to Breathalyzers, for example, a nationwide initiative by law enforcement officers has been underway for some time now. Massachusetts State Police have participated in this effort, swabbing approximately 170 motorists at roadside sobriety checks and drug treatment centers, reports the Herald.
State police are compiling a report of data from the swabs, which should be complete sometime in September. Legal experts contend that any chemical test is likely to face challenges, notes the report.
Recreational marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, with retail sales from licensed dealers originally slated to become legal on July 1, but the effort was stalled. Several pot shops have received their initial licenses, however. Legalization in the state occurred in staging, with decriminalization followed by legal medical marijuana before full legalization.
The 13-member commission plans to meet on several more occasions to discuss an array of drug impaired driving issues in addition to the marijuana test. The group is charged with reporting its recommendations to the Legislature by Jan. 1.