Right next door to Rhode Island, recreational marijuana is legal in Massachusetts. Rhode Island Police aren’t worried about people coming into the state after having made a purchase in Massachusetts. They’re more concerned with people driving stoned after using their purchases.
Police are looking to drug recognition experts to spot those drivers easier, Turn to 10 News says. The Woonsocket Police Department has two drug recognition experts on staff. Three weeks of training is all it takes to learn what to look for and determine if someone is not fit to be driving.
Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas Oates said, “The legal issue of you buying it in Massachusetts and taking it to your home to Rhode Island – I don’t think that’s a big concern to any of the law enforcement chiefs that I know. Our concern is the danger of them operating the vehicle impaired and causing a crash.”
Several types of roadside tests are administered to those who are believed to be driving stoned.
Patrolman Michael Martinsen said, “We have them close their eyes, tilt their head backwards and we try to estimate the passage of 30 seconds. In that time, what we’re looking for is someone’s eyes to flutter back and forth. That’s an uncontrollable jerking of the eyes.”
Another one of the tests is counting in seconds up to 30.
Regarding this test, Martinsen said, “It could be slower cause we’re decreasing the brain’s ability to count properly – everything is more relaxed now so it’s gonna take them a lot longer to estimate 30 seconds.”
Oates is working to have more drug recognition experts on the roads in Rhode Island. Governor Gina Raimondo is working to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.