Police ready to handle gray areas with medical marijuana use - Your West Valley News: Topstory

Police ready to handle gray areas with medical marijuana use

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, December 18, 2010 4:45 am

Marijuana is one of many banned substances, one police have been trained to deal with for decades.

But what happens when that banned substance is only partially banned?

That is the situation law enforcement will be dealing with in a few short months, when medical marijuana dispensaries and facilities open for business and patients using marijuana become part of the equation.

So, how will police deal with the change?

Officials from the Surprise and Peoria police departments say, for the most part, it will be business as usual.

The Surprise Police Department treats all drug and alcohol offenders who drive under the influence the same way — and plans to patrol for medical marijuana the same way it does for other similar crimes, said Mark Ortega, the department’s spokesman.

Ortega said there must be some other primary offense taking place, such as the car’s headlight being out or the motorist speeding or weaving in and out of traffic, to stop the motorist in the first place.

Ortega admitted determining whether someone operating a vehicle is under the influence of marijuana “isn’t as black and white” as someone who’s under the influence of alcohol. Still, Ortega said officers will question drivers who they suspect to be impaired by marijuana about how the drug is affecting their ability to drive and answer questions.

Even for those who may receive a prescription for medical marijuana from a physician, getting behind the wheel and feeling the effects of marijuana — drowsiness, fatigue, feeling tired — could land that individual behind bars or with a citation.

Ortega said drug recognition officers can test a motorist for marijuana with a blood or urine test should they determine their level of impairment is high or they are a danger to others on the road. Officers could also conduct a urine or blood test on motorists based on them “wreaking of pot,” much like officers do for motorists who smell of alcohol, he said.

Just like police officers don’t target individuals who exit a bar, they will also not wait outside medical marijuana dispensaries to find people who are under the influence and are about to get behind the wheel, Ortega said.

Mike Tellef, spokesman for the Peoria Police Department, said his agency will adapt like they always do.

“It’s like any new law,” he said. “We just have to be sure people understand what the law says.”

While Tellef said he does not envision any new problems as a result of legalized medical marijuana, he did say some existing problems could gain a new dimension.

“We have a big problem with forged prescriptions already,” he said. “So we might see an increase in that area. We are also concerned that people might have a kind of misguided freedom that it is OK to drive under the influence. Those two things are the biggest concerns for us.”

Tellef said they will not know exactly what they are dealing with until March.

“We don’t know how well it’s going to go until it rolls out. It’s new to us, too,” he said.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • Zordlyng posted at 8:07 am on Sat, Dec 18, 2010.

    Zordlyng Posts: 1

    No disrespect, but has Mr. Ortega Developed a new test for Marijuana useage?
    Doesn't he know that #1 Those test only detect metabolites that remain for 2-8 weeks (or longer)? How would you prove a valid MM patient was under the influence at the time?
    And #2 that the results of those test cannot be used to show intoxication under this new law? (<-- which is sensible)


PBA50 7th Annual Lona King Saguaro West Open

Tell Us What You Think!


Preacher carrying ‘you deserve to be raped’ sign hit over the head by baseball bat-wielding woman

A street preacher who yells anti-gay messages got hit over the head by a student outraged by his offensive speech, ABC15 reports. Glendale, Ar…

Published: May 28, 2016 - 4:23 pm @ http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/preacher-carrying-…

“What is Sound” Finalists

Thank you for voting on the finalists’ entries for the 2016 Flame Challenge. Here are the six scientists who submitted their entries that best…

Published: May 28, 2016 - 3:23 pm @ http://www.centerforcommunicatingscience.org/what-…

Shut Down the pro-Nazi, RAC “Oi Fest” tonight at the Black Bear!

Another pro-Nazi, Rock Against Communism “Oi Fest” is being held this weekend at the Black Bear in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The first show is t…

Published: May 28, 2016 - 2:22 pm @ https://nycantifa.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/shut-do…

The Breakout Season and the Evolution of Diversity on the Great “White” Way

When the 70th Annual Tony Award nominations were announced May 3, it cemented the fact that the 2015-2016 Broadway season has been one of unpr…

Published: May 28, 2016 - 2:22 pm @ http://www.playbill.com/article/the-breakout-seaso…

Phoenix woman pleads guilty to mailing powdery substance to MCSO

PHOENIX - A Phoenix woman accused of mailing a powdery substance to the Maricopa County Sheriff's downtown headquarters to get her ex-boyfrien…

Published: May 28, 2016 - 2:13 pm @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/cen…

A hiker in Arizona died after more than 1,000 bees stung him

A 23-year-old hiker died after a swarm of at least 1,000 bees attacked him while hiking in Arizona.  The hiker, Alex Bestler of Louisiana, and…

Published: May 28, 2016 - 1:26 pm @ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/1…

Activist Hedy Epstein, Palestinian rights advocate and Holocaust survivor, dies at 91

Topics: black lives matter, Hedy Epstein, Holocaust, Israel, Palestine, News, Politics News At age 90, Hedy Epstein was still getting arrested…

Published: May 28, 2016 - 1:20 pm @ http://www.salon.com/2016/05/27/activist_hedy_epst…

State Rep: Declaration of Independence Is Racist

share this email Would You Pay Your Kids to Stay Off Drugs? State Dept Audit Uncovers Three 'Mystery' Emails About Clinton's Private Server Wo…

Published: May 28, 2016 - 1:03 pm @ http://insider.foxnews.com/2016/05/28/louisiana-st…

Route 66 Road Trip: Here's What You Need To See

slide-48049 Road trips are a rite of summer. There’s no better way to enjoy the warm temperatures, the time off work and need for a little adv…

Published: May 28, 2016 - 12:52 pm @ http://www.autoblog.com/photos/route-66-road-trip-…

Time to care about damn emails: Hillary Clinton has a serious legal problem

Topics: Bernie Sanders, Editor's Picks, Elections 2016, Hillary Clinton, News, Politics News The Democratic primary isn’t about delegate count…

Published: May 28, 2016 - 12:50 pm @ http://www.salon.com/2016/05/27/time_to_care_about…


YourWestValley.com on Facebook


YourWestValley.com on Twitter


Subscribe to YourWestValley.com via RSS

RSS Feeds