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Lack of Convictions Spurs Search for Pot Test

Low numbers of arrests for driving high are perplexing the Illinois State Police, who are considering changes to the way they test for marijuana use behind the wheel. The search is on for a saliva test that can let cops know when a driver has consumed the drug. The kit would augment training that troopers receive to detect when drivers are under the influence of something other than alcohol. Drivers are prohibited by the Illinois Cannabis Control and Tax Act from driving stoned but may transport the drug in sealed containers.

Arrests are lower in some districts than they were before the new law that allows residents to possess up to 30 grams of leaf cannabis took effect in January. Lacking a breathalyzer device like the one used for alcohol, troopers must use their roadside training to determine whether an arrest is warranted. However, the month it can take to metabolize the drug’s active ingredient is complicating efforts to find an effective solution. A pilot program launched in the Chicago suburb of Carol Stream last year but its legality has yet to be tested in a DuPage County court.