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GRPD look to increase officer training to recognize marijuana use on the road

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Recreational marijuana will soon be legal in Michigan, but there are still many questions, especially for law enforcement.

Grand Rapids Police are making one thing clear about the new law: it may be legal to use marijuana but is never legal to drive while under the influence.

GRPD is hoping to get the green light soon for a plan to train more officers to be able to detect drivers who might be high.

Currently, Grand Rapids has five officers certified in the Drug Recognition Enforcement (DRE) Program. Only about 130 officers are certified in the state.

Deputy Police Chief Eric Payne tells FOX 17 that it is all an effort to protect all drivers on the road. Driving while high can have dangerous consequences.

"THC in marijuana affects your ability to multitask," says Payne. "It also affects your time and distance. Those are obviously a huge issue when you are driving."

GRPD is hoping to get a second DRE course next year. They hope to get federal or state grants to cover the costs of training.


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  • Sue

    Hopefully they make it clear to those drivers that do smoke, as to what is considered “under the influence”. Many comments I read relating to this topic are people claiming they are not affected when they do smoke. Their judgement and responses are the same. I think there needs to be a clear definition of what this passing of the law really means for those who think they can smoke anytime and anywhere.

  • Michael Milburn

    No one should drive impaired, but actual impairment should be measured, and the level of impairment from cannabis that is criminalized should be the same as the level of impairment for the blood alcohol limit. I have developed a new public health app that is a general measure of impairment from cannabis or any source–anything that impairs reaction time, hand-eye coordination, balance and the ability to perform divided attention tasks–it is called DRUID (an acronym for “DRiving Under the Influence of Drugs”) available now in the App Store and in Google Play. DRUID statistically integrates hundreds of data points into an overall impairment score and takes just 2 minutes.

    DRUID was recently featured on the PBS News Hour (https://youtu.be/U_uq_9_M80E?t=10m9s) and in Wired magazine: https://www.wired.com/story/portable-field-sobriety-tests/ Cannabis researchers at Yale, Brown, Johns Hopkins, WSU and UC Boulder are using DRUID in their labs. After legalization in California, NORML of California added a link to DRUID on their website and encouraged cannabis users to download it. DRUID is the Gold Standard for Impairment Assessment. Our website is http://www.druidapp.com

    DRUID allows cannabis users (or others who drink alcohol, use prescription drugs, etc.) to self-assess their own level of impairment and (hopefully) decide against driving if they are impaired. Prior to DRUID, there was no way for an individual to accurately assess their own level of impairment.

    After obtaining my Ph.D. at Harvard, I have been a professor of psychology at UMass/Boston for the past 40 years, specializing in research methods, measurement and statistics.

    Michael Milburn, Professor
    Department of Psychology

    “ If we want to get serious about measuring impairment we will need to move to devices that gauge impairment by testing cognitive and physical functionality, along the lines of the DRUID app”

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