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Study Shows Tests Of Drivers For THC Has No Scientific Basis

A new study by the American Automobile Association contains some facts Ohio lawmakers and police may not like. Jim Letizia reports.

State lawmakers are considering legalizing medicinal marijuana use. And several groups have tried to legalize recreational use through ballot measures. Triple-A says Ohio is one of six states that test motorists when they are arrested to see if they are under the influence of marijuana. But the organization's study shows there is no scientific basis for those tests and they should be eliminated. The study shows it is not possible to set a threshold for THC - the chemical that makes a person high -  which can reliably determine impairment, because how the chemical affects each person is different. Motorists with relatively high levels of THC may not be impaired while others with relatively low levels may be engaging in unsafe driving. The study also shows frequent marijuana users have high levels of the chemical long after use, while levels may decline more rapidly in occasional users. But laws in Ohio and four of the five other states say a motorist is guilty if he or she tests higher than the limit those states set. The club recommends states enact laws relying on trained police officers to screen a driver for impairment, followed by testing only for the prsence of THC.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.