Baker pushes to pass legislation addressing marijuana-impaired driving

Massachusetts

BOSTON (WPRI) — Recreational marijuana has been legal in Massachusetts for five years, but now Gov. Charlie Baker is reintroducing a bill to address drugged driving.

The bill is named after Thomas Clardy, the Massachusetts State Trooper who was killed in a 2016 crash involving a man who was high on marijuana on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The bill aims to equalize the penalties drivers face when impaired on either alcohol or marijuana. It’s been an issue of debate for years but it’s difficult for officers to prove someone is impaired on marijuana since it can’t be measured the same way alcohol can.

Much like driving under the influence of alcohol, the bill would allow officers to conduct a field sobriety test for being impaired from marijuana.

Just like if you refuse a breathalyzer test for alcohol, you’ll lose your license and be arrested if you refuse a chemical drug test, which has to be done in a medical facility.

Also, while you can’t have an open alcohol container in a car, you also won’t be able to have loose or unsealed bags of pot.

“This bill would recognize drug recognition experts under state law and allow them to testify as expert witnesses in civil and criminal cases. It would authorize courts to take judicial notice that ingesting THC can and does impair motorists,” Baker said.

Trooper Clardy’s widow says she’s hopeful this will help save lives.

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