• Commission to address drugged driving in Mass. begins work

    By: Crystal Haynes

    Updated:

    BOSTON - A special commission dedicated to preventing drugged driving met for the first time Wednesday to recommend ways to keep people from getting behind the wheel while high

    It comes just two weeks before recreational cannabis will be able to be sold in Massachusetts.

    “There's no .08 equivalent for marijuana -- for cannabis,” AAA’s Mary Maguire explained. “That's one of the things we'll be looking for on this commission."

    The 13-member special commission is a requirement of the state marijuana law and must present their recommendations to the legislature by Jan. 1, 2019. 

    What the board decides would likely change state OUI laws

    “For me, the real missing link is we have to recognize drug recognition experts in the commonwealth. They have to be legally admissible," attorney John Scheft said. He was appointed to the commission by Maura Healey.

    Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael says officers need more training and a reliable scientific test to measure THC impairment immediately.

    “Do we feel ready right now? No, we don't,” Chief Carmichael told Boston 25 news. “The officers have to know when they should bring somebody in, under arrest, when somebody's impaired … but here with OUI -- drugs and marijuana specifically -- we don't have all those tools at hand yet."

    The Cannabis Control Commission’s Executive Director, Shawn Collins, said the impaired driving laws will be an ‘ongoing conversation.’

    “I think the first step is analyzing and deeming if there's any sort of change that is necessary,” he said. 

    And while recreational cannabis is about to be sold legally in Massachusetts, but the mayor of Boston still isn't showing any support for the federal legalization effort.

    At this weekend's U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Marty Walsh declined an invitation to join a coalition of mayors advocating for federal policies that would make it easier to control and tax.

    The mayor also declined to back two marijuana friendly resolutions that received overwhelming support at the event.

    Walsh says instead, he's focused on the implementation of marijuana legalization in Boston.

    MORE: Marijuana Mile: Driving test highlights challenges for Mass. lawmakers

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