Kyla in Hightimes: Minnesota Launches Pilot Program for Roadside Saliva Drug Tests

The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) announced its pilot project to launch a cannabis saliva test for determining impairment in drivers.

According to OTS Director Mike Hanson, the test is being designed to determine recent impairment. “We’re not looking to find somebody who used 10 days or 14 days ago. We’re looking for somebody who used within the last couple of hours,” Hanson explained.

The saliva test would screen for a total of six substances, such as cannabis and opioids, using both the SoToxa Mobile Test System and Dräger DrugTest 5000. Both devices have already previously been tested in other states.

However, there are concerns regarding the efficacy of these roadside drug tests. In 2019, a Vancouver-based attorney found that the Dräger DrugTest 5000 was not a reliable way to determine impairment, claiming that it was producing false positives for people who had only consumed CBD. “We found there was a retention period of half an hour. It was still found in the mouth even though there were no lingering effects in the body,” said attorney Kyla Lee.

Other complaints included that the device wasn’t performing properly in cold weather. “We need to put more effort in this country into finding a device that can tell the difference between something that’s impairing a person and something that’s merely present in their system,” Lee explained.

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