Marijuana impaired driving on the rise - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Marijuana impaired driving on the rise

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New numbers obtained by KHQ show positive THC tests are on the rise in Spokane County after traffic stops for impaired driving. New numbers obtained by KHQ show positive THC tests are on the rise in Spokane County after traffic stops for impaired driving.
SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - New numbers obtained by KHQ show positive THC tests are on the rise in Spokane County after traffic stops for impaired driving. 


According to the Washington State Toxicology Lab, there were 34 positive tests in 2012 for active THC in drivers thought to be impaired. That number rose to 89 in 2013, which Spokane County prosecutors characterized as "quite an increase."

There were also more people who tested positive for carboxy-THC in 2013 than 2012. Carboxy THC is non-active THC in someone's bloodstream and could be caused by other drugs and not just marijuana. In 2012, there were 67 cases in Spokane County where people tested positive for carboxy-THC. That number again rose in 2013 to 150 cases. 

According to the records obtained by KHQ, the Washington State Patrol dealt with the most THC impaired drivers in Spokane County during 2012 and 2013, just ahead of the Spokane Valley Police Department. 

According to Washington State toxicologists, positive THC tests in drivers also increased statewide from 2012 to 2013. In 2013, there were 170 more cases than 2012 where active THC was found in someone's bloodstream stopped for impaired driving.

Numbers are not yet available for 2014. 

Although Washington voters approved legal marijuana sales and consumption in November of 2012, the first products were not sold until July 2014. 

Karen Wigen with the Spokane County Traffic Safety Task Force said, "There was a high enough increase that shows we do have a problem. Talking with local agencies, they say they are seeing an increase."

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