The proposed legislation has some medical marijuana users concerned that the saliva tests would inadvertently catch medical marijuana users, even when they’re not under the influence.
“These tests are very flawed,” said Adam Macdonald of Grosse Pointe Farms, chairman of the National Patients Rights Association, a nationwide advocacy group for medical-marijuana users.
“I’ve heard this will kick the ability to drive right out from under anyone who uses medical marijuana for up to 20 days” before the test, Macdonald said.
However, the real aim of the bills is to catch repeat offenders of drugged driving, said State Rep. Dan Lauwers, a Republican from Brockway Township near Port Huron, who co-sponsored the bill.
Saliva testing is “not critical to this legislation” although Michigan’s police officers deserve to have it available, he said. ”We need to look to the future. This kind of testing has been approved in California.”
The saliva tests have not been approved throughout California but are being used in field trials by Los Angeles police to see if results can qualify as court-admissible evidence.
Under the Michigan proposal, motorists would not be arrested simply for failing the saliva test but only after being pulled over for “erratic driving.” Then the saliva test would add confirming evidence, just as portable breath testers do in cases of drunken drivers to justify an arrest.
“What we’re really after is repeat offenders,” Lauwers said.
Saliva testing detects a subject’s level of active THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. It is performed by taking a swab from inside a person’s mouth and testing it for a chemical reaction that detects the presence of THC.