How will marijuana affect drivers on the road?
PORTLAND (WGME) -- One concern from many people who voted “No” on Question 1 is what it means for drivers on the road, and OUI cases.
We learned police in Maine are concerned we'll see more impairment on our roads with legal marijuana, since they say it's already happening.
Officer Ted Hatch is a certified drug recognition expert in Gorham, also called a DRE. He says his drug tests on drivers often come back positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
“I think we're concerned because I don't think we're equipped to handle the influx of increased impairment that we're going to face with drivers,” Hatch said.
Maine only has about 100 DREs, and they're the only ones who can test a suspect's urine or blood for drug impairment. If one isn't available or far away, you could end up with skewed results or no results at all.
That means less evidence, and fewer OUI convictions. Hatch says that will only get worse if more people are driving high on cannabis.
To help get officers ready, Officer Hatch plans to help train all Gorham officers and as many others as he can in surrounding communities on "ARIDE." It's a two-day training program that helps officers tell the difference between an OUI with alcohol and an OUI with drugs.
“It's going to be a whole discovery process not just for law enforcement, but the public in general,” Hatch said.
Question 1 does not include a THC blood limit for driving so there is no ".08" limit for marijuana like there is for alcohol. In Maine, officers may charge you with OUI if they believe you are "impaired to the slightest degree."