Illinois police groups are questioning the safeguards against marijuana-impaired driving. The Illinois legislature is currently considering a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state. On Wednesday, police groups sent a letter to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn warning that the proposed legislation does not contain a clear-cut way to determine driver impairment.
The legislation would require people with medical marijuana permits to submit to field sobriety tests if stopped by police, but the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association said field sobriety tests are inadequate and judges will likely toss out marijuana-driving cases because of it. They argue that the field tests are not proven to be effective in determining impairment, and blood and urine tests are likewise ineffective since someone can test positive for marijuana a full 30 days after smoking it.
The police officers called on the legislature to determine the level of marijuana that denotes impairment, allow blood and urine tests, and require marijuana users to undergo a waiting period before driving. They warned that highway deaths may increase if legislators don’t find a proper way to create and enforce safe driving rules