DUI Checkpoints Now Include Mouth Swabs That Can Tell If You Smoked Marijuana Days Ago

By Justin Gardner

San Diego, CA – On St. Patrick’s Day, California’s southernmost metropolis decided to debut a roadside test for those suspected of driving under the influence of cannabis. Several “sobriety checkpoints” were set up throughout the city with the standard invasions of privacy, but this time they added a mouth swab test known as the Dräger 5000.

If a cop suspects a driver of being high, they request that he or she take the mouth swab test, and perhaps a field sobriety test as well. They’re trying to gather evidence to incriminate you, although the mouth swab test is not mandatory.

The Dräger 5000, already in use in other countries and cities such as Los Angeles and New York, detects the presence of various substances, including THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The problem is, this test has absolutely zero ability to test actual impairment or level of intoxication.

But a positive reading can give cops the excuse for the more invasive procedure of a blood test. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune:

Officers trained to recognize the symptoms of drug impairment will first look for various indicators that a driver is high, from an unsafe driving maneuver to bloodshot eyes to the odor of marijuana to blank stares, San Diego police Officer Emilio Ramirez said. Once there is ample suspicion of drug use, the officer can then request to perform field sobriety tests or for a driver to take the Dräger 5000 test.

If the driver refuses at that point, the officer can force the person to submit to a blood test.

To use the machine, the driver is handed a mouth swab and instructed to run it around the inside of the mouth for up to four minutes. The swab is then placed into the machine, along with a vial of testing solution, and the machine does its work. It takes about six to eight minutes for results to print out on a receipt.

A positive result will likely send the driver to a police phlebotomist for a blood test to determine precise drug levels.”

Even a negative result could lead to a mandatory blood test if the officer still suspects impairment.

If the mouth swab test is negative but the officer still has a suspicion of impairment, then a blood draw might still be mandated, because the Dräger 5000 only measures for seven kinds of narcotics, Ramirez said.

And if you can’t make bail, you’ll be sitting in jail for weeks or months awaiting the blood test results. For many people, this would mean being fired from their job, or being ripped away from their family, or some other life-altering repercussion – all because a cop invaded your privacy at an unconstitutional roadblock.

The Dräger 5000 can give positive results for THC even if the person did not even use cannabis that day. If it’s legal to use cannabis – as in California – and the swab test can detect THC from days prior, there is absolutely no rationale for deploying the machine. Despite the fact that someone can be perfectly sober and still test positive, this “evidence” is admissible in court.

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman played on fears over legalization to justify their fancy new $6,000 machines, saying, “It’s a huge concern of ours with the legalization of marijuana that we’re going to see an increase in impaired drugged driving.”

The funny thing is, results from St. Patrick’s Day field sobriety checkpoints showed a decrease in the number of DUI arrests. At one checkpoint, six people were arrested, down from nearly a dozen the year before.

One person was going to submit to the mouth swab test for cannabis, but the ordeal gave him an anxiety attack that required medical attention. The cops went ahead and arrested him for DUI afterward.

“We did have one person, who was going to submit a test, but unfortunately had some sort of anxiety attack in secondary to the point where we actually had to get medical attention for him and then later arrested him for DUI,” said Officer Mark McCollough.

Clearly, the Dräger 5000 mouth swab test serves no actual purpose in addressing impaired driving but is just another tool of the police state being rationalized by the legalization of cannabis.

Justin Gardner writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

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5 Comments on "DUI Checkpoints Now Include Mouth Swabs That Can Tell If You Smoked Marijuana Days Ago"

  1. It is a stupid test, and it’s not just THC it detects, cocaine and amphetamines like meth or XTC also up to 3 days ago. Also ADHD meds will test positive for amphetamine. Here in the Netherlands they are allowed to use similar mouth swab test, although they don’t seem to be used that often they are part of the instruments for police since last summer. And they have set limits for the amount of THC in your blood. The addiction and drugs info organisation says that the limit is set so that you need to wait approximately 6 hours after smoking one joint to be under the set limit. Problem only is that they’ll need your blood and the results of it’s analysis first to determine that so I guess you can’t continue to your destination. Also, when they detect a combination of 2 or more substances there is a zero limit. So no driving when you smoked a joint 3 days ago and just had a beer. Or took some XTC at the club and smoked a joint afterwards you can’t drive to work Monday and Tuesday.
    And IMO one of the most dangerous conditions to drive a vehicle is being tired or not well rested. All damage I ever made on my car were caused by a couple of hours I didn’t sleep. Luckily it was with parking but still.

    And besides that, people can perfectly safely smoke a joint while driving a car. And people that are tired and have to drive should be thanked if they wanna sacrifice a little bit of their health by taking some caffeine or meth. What do you think they give fighter pilots when they have to stay on the air for 24 hours?

    • mangomuffin2 | March 30, 2017 at 3:46 am | Reply

      I have to concur with you on the driving while sleepy. The only serious car accident I ever had, occurred when I fell asleep at the wheel (I was tired from moving).

  2. The Random Drug Testing (RDT) of motorists has been conducted here in Australia for several years now and according to our increasingly fascist government are becoming more ubiquitous. We are told to wait at least 12 hours after smoking before we drive however there have been reports of people testing positive 9 days after having consumed THC! The obvious effects are courts clogged, perfectly capable drivers being suspended (and fined heavily) and an ever growing paranoia among those who smoke marijuana whether for medicinal or recreational use. The sad irony is that if the government suddenly decided to scrap the scheme, which enjoys widespread public acceptance thanks to their media propaganda, they would have an over-supply of cops who would have to find some other element of society to harass, such as criminals! Though marijuana laws have been relaxed in recent years with most cases of possession being let off with a caution, the RDT program looks like it’s here to stay. BTW, the oral-swab test only detects THC, MDMA and Methamphetamine NOT Heroin or Cocaine. Obviously our well-paid bureaucrats put a lot of thought into that one!

  3. William Burke | March 29, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Reply

    If I’m being delayed or detained I have one rule I follow. Anything that gets stuck past my front teeth gets bitten clean off.

    I’m usually hungry.

  4. SCOTUS may have ruled they can take your DNA when arrested [so wrong] but there is no way I will volunteer this at DUI stop. Their argument that it is no different than fingerprints is ludicrous. Not only can they put you in database & target relatives but there r no rules as to what else they can do with it or who they can share it with. Keep in mind if someone has your DNA, not only can your identity be stolen; but health info can be sold to insurance companies to discriminate against you and govt knows how to create frequencies & viruses that can target an individual or entire haplotype to torture or kill.

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