For Police, Catching Stoned Drivers Isn’t as Easy as Pulling Over a Drunken Motorist at a DUI Stop


In this file photo from 2006, police officers stop cars at a DUI checkpoint in San Bruno, California. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The man San Diego Police Officer John Perdue pulled over in the Hillcrest neighborhood late last year did not hesitate to admit the smell wafting from his car was marijuana.

After the driver said he not only smoked pot recently but did it on a regular basis, Perdue ran him through several field sobriety tests. The man passed them all without a stumble.

In the case of a drunk driver, a breathalyzer could have confirmed whether a person was impaired by alcohol. But there isn’t such a device for marijuana.

Faced with a driver who confessed to habitually smoking marijuana but no proof the man was impaired at the moment, Perdue decided to let him go.

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