Mouth-Swab Tests For High Drivers Are Becoming More Popular
San Diego swabbed St. Patty's Day partygoers at a checkpoint
You don’t have to be a cop to point out someone that might be driving under the influence of alcohol. For years, driver’s education teachers and pamphlets have alerted drivers about the obvious signs–swaying and swerving, aggressive speeding, and of course the classic straight line walk–but the eye test for someone driving under the influence of weed is markedly trickier. Police departments around the country are testing a new remedy for that: the Dräger DrugTest 5000, a $6000 device that can detect the use of weed and several other drugs, including cocaine and methadone. The device can’t tell just how much of the substance is in a person’s system, but it will detect it.
Thought they’ve been in use since 2009, the test has recently seen an uptick in use, specifically on the west coast. The Los Angeles Times reports that the San Diego PD had two devices donated to them by the San Diego Police Foundation last week, and they were debuted last night at a St. Patrick’s DUI checkpoint. California, which has been a leader in recreational weed decriminalization and legalization efforts, officially approved the use of the devices when “Proposition 64” passed in the November elections.
San Diego’s recent implementation of the device groups them with Los Angeles as the major California cities that have begun using the device; New York, Arizona and Nevada are mentioned as already having them in use. The increase interest in the device comes as weed laws across the country are changed to not only allow recreational use, but also thriving business entities rooted in the sale and growth of weed. Damian Marley recently announced his decision to turn a 77,000 vacant former California prison into a grand weed farm, and Snoop Dogg was an early investor in a weed Uber service.