Michigan’s Roadside Drug Testing is Going Statewide — Heads Up, Smokers
Michigan's roadside drug testing pilot program has delivered results that the state considers successful, which is a huge problem for regular marijuana users.
Michigan began doing their roadside drug testing pilot program across five counties -- Delta, Berrien, Washtenaw, Kent, and St. Clair -- in late 2017. The move, aimed at combating the increasing problem of drugged driving, was signed into law by former Governor Rick Snyder back in June 2016.
The pilot program ended recently and is considered to be a success. If not, it likely wouldn't be expanding statewide -- which is now the plan and will take place in the next few months according to Michigan State Police.
If you detect a hint of negativity in the tone of this article -- you're not imagining things. I think that we should absolutely combat drugged driving, but this program seems like more of a tool to arrest regular marijuana users than a solution.
Should roadside testing be used to arrest people who are using easily detectable drugs like opioids, heroin, crystal meth, or cocaine while driving? 100% yes. Will it be used that way? All you need to do to see how it will be used is look at the pilot program data that came directly from the Michigan State Police:
They issued 92 oral tests over the year-long program.
74 of them came back positive for marijuana.
Now before you get upset with me, let me explain my problem. I'm not saying that people should be able to get baked out of their mind and go drive around. I'm saying that they don't have a way to accurately test for recent marijuana use like they do for alcohol. The science is not in on this method of testing as it pertains to marijuana usage, as I wrote previously when it became law.
The roadside mouth swab testing is not the equivalent to a breathalyzer for weed. There is no equivalent. Marijuana can be detected in your saliva for several days after use, sometimes longer depending on how often you smoke. So it is entirely possible to smoke Saturday night, and still get popped for drugged driving on the way to work Monday morning. That's not right.
I think they should absolutely figure out how to test people for driving high, especially with recreational marijuana being legal in Michigan. Unfortunately, this is not the way and I'm afraid it's going to lead to a lot of good people getting in trouble just for smoking yesterday. Let's hope I'm wrong.
Here's How the Testing Works
Editor's Note: Current testing methods may differ from those explained in this video, which was shot in November of 2017.