Supreme Judicial Court hears case on driving while impaired on marijuana

BOSTON (WHDH) - The Massachusetts Supreme Court heard a case Friday regarding drivers who get behind the wheel while high on marijuana.

The case involved a man arrested in Milbury back in 2013, who was pulled over by police who said he was high on marijuana. Police said the man smelled of marijuana, admitted to smoking it, had two joints in his car and failed field sobriety tests. However, the man’s attorney argued that police officers are not experts on marijuana and field sobriety tests are used to determine drunkenness.

“There is not scientifically established correlation between field sobriety tests and impaired driving,” said defense attorney Rebecca Jacobstein.

The prosecution argued that the officers’ observations should be considered evidence, along with the field sobriety tests. Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael, who was in court, agreed.

“Officers aren’t going to arrest somebody unless they have probably cause to do so,” said Carmichael. “And when they do determine probable cause, they’re going to base that on all of their observations and what might be in the car and what the person’s signs of intoxication might be.”

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