Drugged driving detection measures become state law

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California Highway Patrol will develop a task force to detect drugged drivers after the State Assembly and Senate approved a package of measures Thursday.

Spearheaded by Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), who was a California Highway Patrol officer for 28 years, CHP and state and local agencies will work together to decide on best practices for handling drug-impaired driving.

“California prides itself on being a trendsetter for the nation and we can be a leader for other states on the most effective approach to take against drugged driving,” Lackey said in a statement.

CHP’s expertise will help find the best technology and practices to ensure drugged drivers are detected and others are not falsely accused of drugged driving, Lackey said.

This collection of measures comes in response to the legalization of recreational marijuana after Proposition 64 was passed.

The task force will also conduct pilot tests of new technologies that detect when a driver is under the influence of drugs, including marijuana, illegal drugs and prescription drugs.

CHP will get $3 million as a result of the measures to train drug recognition experts.

Also, the measures create a law that requires drivers to keep marijuana in their trunk while they are driving, except if it is still in its manufacturer-sealed packaging. If this law is broken, it will result in a traffic infraction.

The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research will also be involved with the task force, Lackey’s office said.

According to Chief Edward Medrano, President of the California Police Chiefs Association, drugged driving has been one of the largest challenges for states who have legalized recreational marijuana.

“California needs a comprehensive approach to meeting this challenge and (Thursday) was a big step forward for making that happen,” Medrano said in a statement.

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