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November 21, 2013 at 10:57 AM

More Washington drivers testing positive for marijuana

dre

Seattle police Officer Mike Lewis, who is part of a group of more than 200 law-enforcement personnel around the state who have been specially trained to spot and evaluate motorists impaired by drugs and alcohol, during a routine traffic stop. (Seattle Times file photo)

The Associated Press

New figures from the Washington State Patrol show that more drivers have tested positive for marijuana since the state legalized the drug last year.

In the first six months of 2013, the patrol’s crime lab says, 745 people tested positive for marijuana. Typically there are about 1,000 positive pot tests on drivers in a full year.

Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins says it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s been a rash of people driving high. He says troopers are looking harder for drivers operating under the influence of pot, and they might be ordering more marijuana blood tests.

Of the 745 people who tested positive for marijuana in the first half of this year, the State Patrol says a majority tested above the legal limit of 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood. The exact number was 420.

Just as state law limits drivers to a .08 blood alcohol content, it limits them to 5 nanograms of THC, marijuana’s active ingredient. Specially trained drug-recognition experts, or “DREs,” are often called to traffic stops to determine whether drivers are impaired.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: DUI, marijuana, Washington State Patrol

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