CANNABIS CULTURE – Today started out different than most, upon rising I had to forgo my usual ‘wake n’ bake’ and settle with just coffee and a fruit cup since I had an appointment with a drug recognition expert later this morning and I wanted to be sharp.
CTV news is doing a piece on marijuana and driving and was looking for subjects and after some discussion I was 1 of 2 people picked for the story. I took the Skytrain downtown to meet with CTV reporter Mi Jung Lee where we rode the Canada Line skytrain to Richmond and met up with her cameraman and the other medical cannabis user for the story but I’ll keep the focus of this on my own experience but give you details of what happened.
We drove to the Delta Police Station where we were met by the D.R.E. (drug recognition expert) as well as the Delta PD media spokesperson and the chief of the Delta PD. After introductions and some discussion about how we were going to do the tests we went out to the parking lot to do our work.
Since I was a long time regular user we decided that I didn’t need to do the tests before I smoked to get a baseline but as the other test subject had only been using for less than a year and was using orally so she did the test first before using and would be tested again after ingesting her R.S.O. (Rick Simpson Oil)
By now it was past 11am and I’m still waiting for my first toke of the day having woken up at 6 so I wasted no time getting a bowl of Tuna Kush in me, some very high end indica and then it was my turn to ‘walk the line’
The test is fairly simple, the officer giving the test had me stand on the painted line in the parking lot with my feet together, heels and toes touching, hands at my sides looking straight ahead, using his pen he had me follow the pen with my eyes only, not moving my head from side to side, he did this about 6 or seven time before holding the pen up high a few times which made me roll my eyes into my head, this is done on purpose I was told when I mentioned he was moving the pen beyond where I could see it over my head.
The next part of the test had me standing in the same position, hand at sides feet together and on his command walk heel to toe on the line while keeping my hands at my sides and looking at my feet and counting my steps out loud up to nine, then doing a 1 foot shuffle turn and nine steps back the same, pay attention here, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
The last part of the test had me once again standing on the painted line, feet together, hands at my sides, toes and heels touching, on command I had to raise the foot of my choice about 6 inches of the ground, holding it out in front of me for a count of 22 seconds that I had to count out loud by using the 1 one thousand, two one thousand method up to twenty two.
So how did I do? The D.R.E. said I passed the first part of the test, that being the eye exam but failed on the second part of the test, walking the line. This can be explained in a few ways, firstly I have medical issues that preclude me from performing well in tests of balance like my hip flexor and back issues and also in part due to my age (60) in fact we were told that these tests are not as reliable with older people, retirees the elderly or people with mobility issues.
To sum it up he said he would have given me a 24hr suspension but made a strong point that it is up the the officers discretion, not just if they want to lay a charge but the whole outcome of the test is basically up to the D.R.E.’s discretion.
How It Works
It also pays to understand a little about what is being looked at, the D.R.E. officer is trying to determine if you are to high to drive so the test is designed to see how well you multi task. It’s not just an eye test and walking the line but you also need to pay attention to the officers verbal instructions, things like forgetting to count out loud or not keeping your hands at your sides while hyper focused on the physical part of the task or moving your head instead of just your eyes to look at the pen would be ‘signs’ of impairment in this case.
Some other points of interest to mention is don’t expect to be swabbed by a Dragger 5000 oral wipe anytime before April of next year, it will be awhile I’m told before we see those in use and at this time the police prefer to use a D.R.E. over a swab even if they had them, they feel it’s a better tool to keep impaired drivers off the road as were measuring impairment and not just testing for the presence of cannabinoids and I agree.
Speaking of the Dragger 5000 I’ll be taking one of those out for a test drive next week, watch for that story soon.