As a current law enforcement administrator, I have zero tolerance for police personnel using marijuana. Ohio is a medical marijuana state which I have no qualms with. What the average citizen does in their own homes regarding marijuana is their business, but we cannot allow police personnel to use marijuana, even on their day off. In Ohio, 5 nanograms, which is not a lot, of THC in someone’s blood is enough to charge them with impairment. Even though Cannabis is listed under it’s own drug category per NHTSA’s Drug Recognition Expert Training Manual (2020), it can have the same psychoactive effects as CNS Depressants, CNS Stimulants, or Hallucinogens. Being trained as a nationally certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), we look for general indicators of someone who may be impaired by any of the 7 categories of drugs. Cannabis has a long list of indicators. But to look at some of these and determine if we want police officers working the streets while impaired by Cannabis is unfathomable. Some of the indicators include:
- Altered time/distance perception
- Body tremors
- Impaired memory
- Lack of concentration
- Relaxed inhibitions
These are just a few as there are 9 more indicators. Officers carry firearms, less lethal weapons, and operate motor vehicles. Do we really need our officers utilizing any piece of equipment with any of these effects? The duration of effects can last anywhere from 2 hours up to 24 hours, without the person being aware of the effects. A police officer has to make split-second decisions and when those decisions can be altered by a substance such as Cannabis, deadly mistakes can be made. Police administrators have a duty to protect their personnel and the citizens that they serve. We are putting a product on the street that can cause harm, we are looking at some serious civil litigation.
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