Video: Driving-stoned blood tests all over the map in CBS4 report
|An image from the CBS4 report.|
The participants are all regular marijuana users, and each suspected that he or she would register over five nanograms when sober as a result. (They abstained from marijuana use on the day in question until the test got underway, at around 11 a.m.) Yet two of the three were under the soon-to-be legal standard: One registered at 1.4 nanograms, another at 1.8 nanograms.
The third, however, checked in at 11.2 nanograms, more than double the limit, even though she hadn't smoked since the night before.
During the first test, which was intended to establish a baseline, the three participants did fairly well on a challenging course with which a CBS4 employee who navigated it as a control subject also had difficulties. But that employee did successively better during each subsequent drive, while the skills of the other three tended to deteriorate.
Granted, they smoked before the additional tests. Before the second drive, Ackerman says they were instructed to use cannabis until they could feel it -- a point that might be equated to someone who knows when to stop drinking alcohol in order not to exceed the .08 blood-alcohol-content mark for legal intoxication. But all the marijuana users blew past five nanograms.
"They were way over," Ackerman says, adding, "I think there's a decent awareness of where people's personal .08 would be, but as far as pot users, I don't think they have any idea where five nanograms is."
These specific results, and those of the tests that followed, will be shared on the CBS4 website once the 10 p.m. offering airs. But from Ackerman's perspective, "it's too soon to tell" whether the five nanogram limit will turn out to be a useful way of determining marijuana intoxication, or if innocent people will wind up being convicted.
Another screen shot from the report.
He notes that in the case of two participants, who stopped smoking after reaching what they considered their "high point," their blood THC "plateaued after test two and rapidly came down. And who knows what that means as far as the real world, when a police officer pulls someone over. For our test, we waited for fifteen minutes to let the marijuana set in, but it might take a lot longer during a traffic stop for a police officer to actually get a blood test done. Who knows where five nanograms would come into play with that...."
Here's a preview of the CBS4 report:
More from our Marijuana archive circa February 2013: "Driving-while-stoned videos help fuel momentum of THC driving bill."