‘It’s up to the common sense of jurors’

September 19, 2017 — The Boston Globe: “Under a unanimous ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court, Massachusetts police officers can no longer cite their subjective on-scene observations or sobriety tests to conclude in court testimony that a driver was under the influence of marijuana…the court found there is no scientific consensus those tests definitively prove someone is intoxicated by marijuana. The judges also noted the effects of marijuana on its users are more complex than of alcohol and less obviously correlated to the amount consumed…However, the court said jurors ‘are still permitted to utilize their common sense’ in considering whether the sobriety assessments and other evidence indicate impairment…Colorado and Washington, two other states where recreational marijuana is legal, [established]…a blood concentration limit for THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis…Both states use a threshold of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood; in Washington any driver at or above that level is automatically considered impaired, while in Colorado those drivers can dispute their condition in court…Jay Winsten, director of Harvard University’s Center for Health Communication and a pioneer of OUI awareness campaigns, praised the court for taking a ‘middle ground’ approach. ‘I think it was a wise, smart, and careful decision,’ Winsten said. ‘It keeps field sobriety tests in the picture without allowing police officers to claim they constitute unequivocal evidence of marijuana intoxication, which would be suggesting something that goes beyond what’s currently known.'”
Read The Boston Globe article by Dan Adams