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CHP officer explains how they test for high drivers

CHP Officer Joel Lynch demonstrates how they test drivers impaired on Marijuana.

California Highway Patrol Officer Joel Lynch explained how they test impaired drivers for cannabis at the CHP office in Chico on Wednesday.

With the legalization of marijuana in California, law enforcement is worried about stoned drivers.

But there's no breathalyzer for weed, so authorities typically resort to more standard methods to determine if someone is driving high.

Lynch explained the process.

"Once an officer has made the determination that you are in fact under the influence and not just impaired on marijuana or whatever drug, or alcohol, they will then request what's called a D.R.E.," Lynch said.

A D.R.E. is a drug recognition evaluator. It's essentially a field sobriety test. But it's not the final judgement, and it's usually followed up later by a blood test.

However, testing drivers for things like marijuana is not a precise science.

"As far as a mouth swab goes, it would just be a presumptive test," Lynch said. "Meaning you consumed THC, but we don't know how much or how little or anything like that."

Many parts of the drug recognition evaluator are similar to what you might see in a doctor's office, such as blood pressure tests and pupil tracking.

Lynch says it's all designed to help keep other drivers safe. He also said that cases of Californians driving while high have been on the rise since weed's legalization in the state.

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