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NJ lawmaker wants to blood test for cannabis impairment

Plus, a big week ahead on Cultivated Live

Happy Monday.

It’s going to be a big week ahead for Cultivated Live – which streams daily at 10 am Eastern on LinkedIn and YouTube

Today we’ll connect with the CEO of Weedgets and tomorrow we’ll be joined by key legislative leaders in New Hampshire looking to legalize adult-use cannabis in the Granite State.

The easiest way to follow all things Cultivated Live is to follow us on LinkedIn or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

💡What’s the big deal?

Bill introduced to draw blood to determine cannabis impairment

Driving the news: A New Jersey lawmaker introduced a bill that would allow police to draw blood of drivers they believe are impaired from cannabis, reports The New Jersey Monitor.

The bill’s author, Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), introduced a similar bill last year, but it never received a hearing.

The details: The bill would allow police to draw a driver’s blood if they expect cannabis impairment, much like the implied consent drivers give to submit to a breathalyzer test if officers suspect a person is driving under the influence of alcohol. 

Why this is happening: With legalization on the march in the US, there’s a push to identify ways to determine if people are driving under the influence of cannabis. 

Most scientists say blood tests aren’t a reliable way to measure acute impairment, since THC can stay in a person’s system for weeks. 

Blood tests only measure the amount of cannabis in a drivers’ system but don’t necessarily measure impairment. And unlike breathalyzers, there is no national standard for how much THC in the bloodstream constitutes impairment. 

So there’s no reliable, standardized way yet for police to determine whether or not a driver is impaired. 

And…: The fact that blood tests do not actually or accurately test impairment isn’t the only issue. Alex Shalom, an attorney for the ACLU, told The New Jersey Monitor that police may improperly draw blood without a warrant the way this bill is written, and that judicial oversight is crucial. 

“It forces the police to have to get the approval of a judge before they invade a person’s bodily autonomy…That is both consistent with the Constitution and consistent with our values that say, before the government can stick a needle in your arm, they better have an awfully good reason,” he said. 

What’s next: We shall see if this bill moves forward in New Jersey or dies another death this year. But, a standardized way to test and measure cannabis impairment is something that nearly all jurisdictions are struggling with. So expect more legal markets to debate this issue. 

And more: A number of startups are working on the issue of how to measure cannabis impairment, for both commercial purposes as well as road safety. 

Cultivated took a look at Impairment Science’s pitch deck. The company developed an app to quantifiably detect impairment, without drawing blood or a breathalyzer. You can read that here.

👊 Quick hits

A new study in the journal Current Alzheimer Research suggests that cannabis consumers have “significantly decreased odds of cognitive decline,” though the study is broadly observational and far from conclusive.

🎒 What we’re reading

👏 People moves ICYMI

Check out Bridging workplace generational gaps in yesterday’s People Moves newsletter powered by White Ash Group.

📈 Chart of the Day

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