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Ridin’ High

Ridin’ High

With legal recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington, legal medical marijuana use in 23 states, and November elections around the corner, states have started to think about how to handle “high driving” as well as drunk driving.

We all have that friend who says they drive better when they’re stoned, right? Because they’re more focused and careful. At the end of the day, though, studies have shown high driving to be less dangerous than drunk driving, but still more dangerous than driving sober. Why is that? Primarily because drunk drivers overestimate their skills and stoned drivers do the opposite. The biggest danger of high driving is not being able to react quickly enough to unexpected situations.

The Oregonian recently published a piece revealing how their state authorities are being trained to deal with stoned drivers. Here are the basics:

1. Drug Recognition Experts, or DRE officers, are officers specifically selected and trained to catch drunk and high drivers. Almost every state has them, and they train for three weeks to learn about the human body from toxicologists, doctors, and program alumni. According to the article, it’s one of the hardest classes these cops have ever taken. (Is anyone surprised by that?)

2. When an officer arrests someone for failing the field sobriety test, the DRE officer uses a 12-step test at the station which includes questioning and physical tests. The most telling test is apparently the pupil test – if the person sits in a dark room and the lights are turned on, their pupils should shrink.

3. If tests make it appear the person is high, the officers question them until they crack. Or until they just give up. At that point, they get to decide whether they’ll keep the person in custody. If they do, it’s forwarded to the prosecutor’s office, which decides whether they’ll press charges.

The best part of the entire article is…drum roll, please…the comment section! Oregonian commenters are pretty smart. Check out the entire article and don’t forget to read the comments! Also, as always, we want to know what you guys think. Find us on Facebook or share in our comment section below.

This June 20, 2012 file photo shows David Kosmecki, left, talking to Idaho State Police Trooper Justin Klitch in Fruitland, Idaho. Kosmecki was stopped and charged with possession of marijuana after leaving Oregon, where he and a friend purchased it from a dispensary. The question of how to catch high drivers is taking on new urgency as voters will decide whether to legalize the drug on Nov. 4. (AP Photo/Nigel Duara) 


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