Gov. Charlie Baker

Massachusetts Gov. Pushes for Harsher Cannabis DUI Rules

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is pushing a bill that would make the penalty for refusing a roadside drug test the same as refusing a breathalyzer test — despite a lack of accurate standards for testing cannabis impairment.

Full story after the jump.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has introduced a bill into the state legislature that would suspend the license of anyone who refuses a roadside drug test during a traffic stop — despite the lack of an accurate and effective test for cannabis impairment, MassLive reports.

Gov. Baker’s bill is seeking to make the penalty for refusing a drug test for cannabis the same as the penalty for refusing a breathalyzer test for alcohol. The problem with trying to equalize those standards is the lack of accurate testing methodologies for cannabis intoxication, unlike for alcohol.

“Drugged driving under the influence of marijuana is not new. What is new is our decision as a commonwealth to legalize, regulate and tax cannabis. In my opinion, that means that we have an enhanced obligation to address the issue of impairment anew as regulators, as industry, as participants in the criminal justice system and as policymakers.” — Cannabis Control Commissioner Britte McBride, via MassLive

The bill also includes provisions for expanded police training, changes to the state’s open container laws, and a public education program about the dangers of drugged driving that would cooperate with dispensaries across the state.

ACLU Field Director Matt Allen told reporters that it was too early for such legislation. “Our position is if a motorist faces legal penalties for refusing to take a test, that test should be based on evidence and science,” said Allen.

The bill is currently awaiting a hearing in the Massachusetts state legislature.

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