GoLocalPDX Quotes Karen O'Connor on Need for Method to Judge Impairment by Marijuana

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Stoel Rives attorney Karen O’Connor was quoted on the GoLocalPDX news website in an article titled “The Need for a Marijuana Breathalyzer.” The article discusses some of the issues that have arisen in the wake of the legalization of marijuana in Oregon by the passage of Measure 91, including the desire on the part of law enforcement personnel for a “marijuana breathalyzer,” a more reliable method of measuring drivers’ impairment than the currently used field sobriety and blood tests.

O’Connor doesn’t foresee the near-term development of a dependable test for THC. “I think it’s going to take a while to get any reliable test,” she said. “It’s still illegal from a federal perspective, and most tests for products like this receive funding from the federal government, which isn’t coming anytime soon.”

However, she acknowledged that the development of a more reliable test would likely change the relationship of employees and employers that are still opting to test employees for drugs, including marijuana, as a condition of both hiring and employment.

“Theoretically, I think it could have a big impact,” she said. “It would allow employers to see if their employees are impaired at work, or rather just consuming marijuana legally in their off-time. I don’t think most employers want to concern themselves with what their employees do after-hours if they can avoid it.”

Read “The Need for a Marijuana Breathalyzer,” published October 8, 2015.

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