Pot Patrols: As marijuana stores open, police to watch for stoned drivers

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copSEATTLE — Police around the state are starting DUI emphasis patrols as we enter the holiday weekend. A lot of those patrols will also continue into the first full week of July as the first pot retail stores open up.

As part of the Seattle Police DUI Squad, officer Jon Velliquette plans to be busy.

“I do expect things to get worse before they get better as far as marijuana is concerned,” said Velliquette.

Velliquette is also a certified drug recognition expert, and says stoned drivers behave a lot like drunken drivers.

The field sobriety tests are the same, too.  If drivers flunk, and police believe they are stoned, officers will get a search warrant to draw blood and see how much THC is in their system. If there are 5 nanograms or more, they will be charged.

“That investigation takes hours,” said Velliquette. “We`re probably talking about a five-hour process.”

That’s a good three hours longer then a drunken driving arrest, but Velliquette believes it’s worth it to get stoned drivers off the road and potentially save lives. And he has a message for people who may want to try pot now that stores will be selling it.

“Try it at home, stay at home, and don’t drive afterwards. Just use some common sense.”


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    • DavidK

      DUI means “Under the Influence” regardless of what you’re under the influence of – prescription drugs, illegal drugs, legal drugs like alcohol or pot !! The ‘impairment’ part of the test should not have to change – FST, etc.
      Unfortunately, because of all the anti-pot propaganda we’ve been fed for decades there is no SCIENTIFIC evidence of how pot affects people so there is NO easy way to prove if someone is high – no breath test and a blood draw only tells how much residual THC is in the blood – AND – THAT can persist in the body long after the ‘effect/impairment’ has passed !!

  • not_stoned

    People have been driving stoned for years, now that it's legal they want to bust people? I'd rather drive behind stoned people then drunk ones any day! — not a pot smoker–

  • AndyBlue

    Dirty cops see revenue opportunities. When human filth gets a badge they lie like hell for that revenue.

    There is NO rash of people killed by pot smokers. They are making it up. That's Seattle… A city so corrupted the mafia is taking notes.

  • Freedom with Truth

    Officer Jon Velliquette may think he is a "certified drug recognition expert", but, by his statements above, it is painfully obvious that he is just another uninformed, biased, straight-laced, by the book cop who doesn't know anything at all about marijuana, other than the "marijuana is the downfall of society" hype that he grew up with during the Nixon era. It's a shame that we will have to deal with people like this for years to come. Maybe our grandkids' grandkids will be able to live in marijuana friendly future. We can only hope.

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