Road traffic and THC: An impossible situation

A THC limit value that has nothing to do with a concrete stoned state. Convictions for driving under the influence of drugs, although the medical examination does not reveal any abnormalities. Suspicion of drug addiction in the case of three consumption incidents per week. Couldn't be sicker?

Unacceptable experiences in road traffic

“I don't know if you can relate to my following story, but I feel the experience as a great injustice and also quite on the border of the permissible.
I live in the canton of Solothurn and was stopped on Saturday at 01:00 in the night by the police during a traffic control. I am almost 30, came from home, so was neither styled nor psyched and I was alone on the road to pick up my husband from work. The check was not preceded by any traffic violation on my part, but it was a standard traffic check, as the policeman had explained to me during the greeting.
After briefly checking my papers, he immediately wanted to know from me whether I was taking narcotics. He was not interested in the condition of my vehicle, but started right away with this topic. I explained to him that I do not take narcotics. He asked about alcohol and I explained that I did not ingest alcohol either. He asked if I was sure and I then offered to take a breathalyzer test.
He simply said he didn't want to know if I was sure about the alcohol, but about the narcotics. After I stressed three more times that I don't ingest drugs and I also had to look at the tip of his nose while he shined his flashlight in my eyes, he asked me to take a rapid drug test because, he said, he felt he smelled marijuana.
Well understood, I do not ingest drugs and had told him that several times. I consented to the drug test. After a few minutes, the officer looked at the strip and asked two more times if I was sure I was not ingesting drugs. The test was negative, of course, he just wanted to try again to catch me in case I did take drugs. I dare to say that I did not give the impression of having taken drugs and I find it an impertinence that I have to justify myself in such a way without being believed and even after a negative result of the test I am still not believed.
I know that a drug test can only be made on the basis of an urgent suspicion of a crime. This is of course a gray area, as the police officer did feel that he smelled something. I have noticed that some acquaintances in the canton of Solothurn have had to hand in their ID cards due to residual marijuana values during a police check in recent months. Also with me the interest was immediately on the drugs. The officer was not interested in the condition of the vehicle or ingestion of alcohol.
I am not in favor of driving if you have consumed marijuana or are intoxicated. But here in the canton of Solothurn, the police seem to be testing every road user for drugs at the moment. Someone who has smoked marijuana has to refrain from driving for several days in order not to have to hand over his or her driving license in case of a control due to the residual value. With alcohol, one does not have to fear this due to the tolerated 0.5 per mille. On the one hand I wonder how permissible this is, on the other hand I would be interested to know if you have already heard of similar cases? And that the police put a big concentration on drug tests? (Oh yes, we have!) I felt like a felon and didn't feel like I could have defended myself in any way against these ridiculous charges.
I hope you guys can relate to my experience report. Because even though I don't ingest marijuana, I find such treatment and accusations as I experienced unacceptable.”

It borders on obsession

Yes, so the authorities still spoil everyone's driving. So the whole hemp hysteria in road traffic now also affects people who do not take anything at all. The officials are simply fixated on such suspicious cases. Because it also brings a big profit: Whoever is proven to be “driving under drugs” commits a misdemeanor, a nice point for the statistics! Instead of looking for and punishing concrete driving errors in traffic, many officers spend hours harassing people who have not made any driving errors. And also not under the concrete influence of THC. I guess the only thing left to hope for is self-driving cars?

It is really an impossible situation! What would be the main points to change?

⇒ If a THC limit value is to apply, then it must have something to do with the concrete impairment. If there is no such limit value (and this seems to be the state of scientific knowledge), then just any limit value must not be arbitrarily set - certainly not a limit value close to zero. Blood tests must be dispensed with; instead, the medical examination should (once again) apply: If no abnormalities can be detected, then there is no impairment of driving ability.

⇒ Today, the general fitness to drive is already called into question if someone consumes a few times a week. Even if there are no indications that this consumption would take place in temporal proximity to driving a motor vehicle. Here one must work on the fact that THC consumption is simply a normal behavior, like also alcohol consumption. The vast majority of users handle the substance responsibly and do not drive a motor vehicle under the specific influence of THC.

Normal people or drug addicts?

Today, the consensus in forensic medicine is that occasional use is one to two times a week. Consumption that is no longer occasional starts at three times a week - and this then gives rise to the suspicion that someone could be a drug addict. This shows the enormous reservations and prejudices against THC consumption in certain circles. The use of cannabis products can, as thousands of users prove every day, very well happen without signs of drug addiction. These people work, have relationships, hobbies, do sports, drive on the roads for 20 years without any accidents: It's just a normal leisure activity.

Unjustified prosecution

Nobody wants people to roll joints and smoke while driving or to get back behind the wheel immediately after consumption. Such behavior must not and should not be tolerated by society. But to punish drivers for just a whiff of substances - without a concretely detectable impairment - and to force them to abstain if they want to continue driving, is clearly going too far. misdemeanor. Mischa Hauswirth also calls this a modern form of witch hunt in his book (see box above right). Simply attributing negative characteristics to people simply because a measuring device spits out a number: modern quackery.

Changing it will be very, very difficult....

This year, I have dealt with a few cases and I have to say: If something is to be changed for the better in this problem, a lot of money is needed. Money for studies. Money for public relations. Money for law firms. Money for actions. And people who really want to push this forward, have the necessary (paid!) time for it and can stay on it for years. Because it's about ending ten years of zero tolerance - a decade in which a whole system of THC intolerance has emerged, from which many live (well) and thus have large resources at their disposal.

...because the money, that is scarce.

We only manage to finance our one (my) 60% position with the greatest of efforts: As I write these lines, I do not know whether I will be dismissed at the end of August or not. Our big fundraising is still going on, maybe it will be successful, I will try it in any case. Because I know that these 24 paid hours a week are extremely important for legal consultations, for collecting information, for maintaining the office, for updating the database, for media work, for researching and publishing. So that there is a basis on which to fight. But to win, we would need a completely different order of magnitude, we would not have to turn over 75,000 francs per year, but a six-figure amount. But achieving this is not (yet?) foreseeable.

Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

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Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

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