Md. police use volunteers to test marijuana influence on drivers ahead of legalization

Volunteers smoked or consumed marijuana while police observed their reactions so that authorities could analyze how cannabis impairs drivers

By Ashley Silver

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — To prepare for the upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana in Maryland, medically certified volunteers agreed to consume marijuana so that authorities could analyze the difference between how cannabis impairs drivers versus how alcohol influences them.

Volunteers from Montgomery County smoked or consumed marijuana while police observed their reactions, according to NBC Washington. “This is a great opportunity for us to really enhance our deployment out on the road and our proactive ability to identify impaired drivers by cannabis,” a police officer told NBC.

One volunteer told NBC they’re doing their part to improve policing by helping officers uncover when and when not to conduct marijuana-related stops after recreational use of the drug becomes legal on July 1.

“If police aren’t educated, they are going to do a variety of stops and arrests that aren’t realistic,” the volunteer told the media platform.

Although recreational marijuana will become legal in Maryland in July, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.

NEXT: Survey: 3,615 officers weigh in on the impact of marijuana legalization on policing

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