With recreational marijuana now legal in Massachusetts, police departments are facing a major challenge.
State Police will impenitent a sobriety checkpoint in Hampden County Thursday into Friday, and they aren’t just looking for drunk drivers, but those driving high.
Research has found that using marijuana slows reaction time and your ability to make decisions, which increases your chance of getting into an accident if you drive high.
“I do fear for my safety because I see a lot of ignorant drivers and I do see people smoke when they drive,” Jan-Guy Cournoyer of Northampton said.
With recreational marijuana shops now open in Northampton and Leicester, the concern for those using marijuana while driving is rising.
Police still don’t have the right equipment they need to get drugged drivers off the road.
If a driver refuses a breathalyzer test, they automatically lose their license. But if they refuse a drug evaluation, there is still no penalty.
“I don’t think that it should be up to their discretion to detect high drivers,” Noah Phillips of Easthampton said. “I believe until there is some kind of machine or device that they use for alcohol is available. and once they have that system then it would be more accurate.”
Police can still arrest someone who is suspected of driving impaired because of drugs. Further evaluations will then be made.
If you get caught drinking and driving, that can result in jail time, loss of license, and fines.