Roadside Drug Testing Amendment Adopted During Senate Budget Debate

ROADSIDE DRG TEST

During the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Senate budget debate, Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) announced that the Senate adopted an amendment regarding roadside testing for drivers under the influence of drugs.

The Moore-sponsored amendment, which passed unanimously, would establish a Special Commission to study roadside tests administered for drug-impaired motorists.  Sen. Moore, who traveled to Colorado as part of a legislative fact-finding mission earlier this year, learned from public safety officials in Colorado about concerns with the lack of roadside drug testing procedures.

“This amendment is critical to establishing a viable procedure that identifies when a driver is legally impaired by drug use,” said Sen. Moore, who serves as Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.  “The lack of a current procedure, and the possibility of a recreational marijuana ballot initiative passing this November, heightens the importance of establishing a uniform procedure.”

The Commission would include representatives from the criminal justice sector, and from a wide array of public safety agencies including the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Supreme Judicial Court, Office of the Attorney General, State Police, and the Massachusetts Bar Association.

With a reporting deadline of October 1, 2016, the Commission would be charged with investigating the feasibility of developing an established impairment level for the active drug in marijuana known as tetrahydrocannabinol.  The Commission would also be responsible for studying drug evaluation programs, expert training, and other matters related to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs.

Before reaching the Governor’s desk, the FY17 budget will go before a Conference Committee comprised of six legislators to resolve differences between versions of the budget passed by the Senate and House of Representatives.  The budget may be tracked by visiting the Legislature’s website, www.malegislature.gov.

About Jennifer Doyle

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