Police train to spot cannabis impairmentPosted by On


Police departments from around the country are learning new skills to keep up with the growing number of states legalizing cannabis use. In Auburn on Friday, more than 20 officers from around New England underwent specialized training to spots the signs if impairment in those suspected of driving high. The Maine Public Safety Training Institute, an independent law enforcement education company, put on the day-long course. Officers spent time in a classroom setting reviewing the basics of impairment, cannabis legislation and field sobriety testing. The training ended with officers putting their skills to the test with a group of volunteers. The volunteers each consumed various amounts of cannabis through traditional flower, concentrate and edibles. One person in the group remained sober. Once the effects had set in, groups of officers took turns using the standardized field sobriety tests to determine which of the volunteers would be considered legally impaired during a traffic stop. “Just because you smell cannabis doesn’t mean the person is impaired,” said Dan Thompson, the MPSTI education director. “We have some people who don’t consume (cannabis) at all and we have officers try and ‘arrest’ them.” In Maine, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08%. However, Thompson said unlike alcohol, there is no set benchmark for intoxication that makes a person “too high to drive.” Instead, officers must look for signs like loss of balance, reaction time and…

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Police departments from around the country are learning new skills to keep up with the growing number of states legalizing cannabis use. In Auburn on Friday, more than 20 officers from around New England underwent specialized training to spots the signs if impairment in those suspected of driving high. The Maine Public Safety Training Institute, an independent law enforcement education company, put on the day-long course. Officers spent time in a classroom setting reviewing the basics of impairment, cannabis legislation and field sobriety testing. The training ended with officers putting their skills to the test with a group of volunteers. The volunteers each consumed various amounts of cannabis through traditional flower, concentrate and edibles. One person in the group remained sober. Once the effects had set in, groups of officers took turns using the standardized field sobriety tests to determine which of the volunteers would be considered legally impaired during a traffic stop. “Just because you smell cannabis doesn’t mean the person is impaired,” said Dan Thompson, the MPSTI education director. “We have some people who don’t consume (cannabis) at all and we have officers try and ‘arrest’ them.” In Maine, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08%. However, Thompson said unlike alcohol, there is no set benchmark for intoxication that makes a person “too high to drive.” Instead, officers must look for signs like loss of balance, reaction time and…



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