By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California lawmakers are proposing a new law that would use advanced technology to test drivers for marijuana or other drugs.

Karen Smith says a simple test could have saved her husband’s life.

“He was just 56 years old. We had been married for 34 years,” she said. “It was all wiped out in just one second by a person who chose to drive under the influence of THC.”

Smith says she’s still grieving a year after losing her husband, but she’s sharing her emotional story before state lawmakers, urging them to come up with a way to fight “drugged driving.”

Assemblyman Tom Lackey, a former California Highway Patrol officer, is proposing a law would put the CHP in charge of solving the problem. Lackey wants the CHP to form a task force charged with identifying the best technology to test drivers under the influence of pot or other prescription drugs, including opiates.

One idea is a controversial oral swab test.

Sacramento doctor Robert Sullivan treats his patients with cannabis. He says unlike alcohol, pot is released slowly in the system, causing the chemical to stay positive for a while without influencing behavior.

“My concern is, to be fair to the people that are using cannabis by choice, responsibly,” said Dr. Sullivan.

Lackey says, “What’s unfair is to not identify impairment on any level. If someone is impaired from a substance, they need to be removed from the roadway.”


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