The president of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association is concerned the saliva tests being used by police in a new roadside drug testing pilot program may have a high error rate.
Michael Komorn joins other skeptics who are questioning the accuracy of the tests, according to The Associated Press. They started being administered by state police and local authorities earlier this month in five counties: Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw.
“Nobody should be compelled to take this test until we’ve got some confirmation that it is an accurate test,” Komorn said. “That’s basic fundamental liberty and freedom, that government shouldn’t be able to subject individuals to tests.”
The pilot program is expected to last for a year. If a driver is suspected of impaired driving, a specially-trained officer can use a handheld device to test that person’s saliva for the presence of certain drugs.
Drugs that can be tested for include amphetamine, benzodiazepines, marijuana/cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine and opiates.
If a driver refuses to take the oral fluid swab test, it can result in a civil infraction, just like if someone were to refuse a preliminary breath test, police have said.
People who have questioned these roadside swabs say Michigan’s pilot program is also an accuracy test for the device itself, the Alere DDS2.
Because drugs affect each person differently, there’s often no firm agreement on how much of these substances equate to an impaired driver. So settling on this kind of a test can be complicated, academic experts and authorities have said, according to the AP.
The roadside device will record results based on threshold limits of nanograms per milliliter, set by the manufacturer for six substances:
* Amphetamine 50
* Benzodiazepines 20
* Marijuana/Cannabis (THC) 25
* Cocaine 30
* Methamphetamine 50
* Opiates 40
Michigan State Police said the thresholds for