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Law enforcement says legal use of recreational marijuana won't change their tactics

UN agency removes cannabis from strictest drug category
Posted at 9:52 PM, Feb 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-02 23:16:10-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Recreational marijuana will be available at some locations beginning Friday in Missouri.

But even with marijuana use legal in Missouri, several law enforcement agencies told KSHB 41 it won't change how they operate.

Missouri Highway Patrol troopers receive extensive training in detecting drugs and alcohol in impaired drivers, according to Lt. Eric Brown, a Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman.

"Within 18 months of graduation from the Patrol Academy every trooper is required to attend Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement training, which focuses on the detection of driver’s impaired by a drug other than alcohol, Brown said."

Lt. Brown added some troopers also are certified Drug Recognition Experts (DRE.) The advanced training teaches troopers to determine if a driver is too impaired to drive.

The MSHP spokesperson said DRE's are certified to testify in court as experts on the effects of drugs and alcohol on a person.

The Leawood Police Department said their approach isn't changing.

Their officers have used A.R.I.D.E training for several years to help spot impaired drivers.

In an interview with KSHB 41 in November 2022, Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez said his officers are not looking for people who use cannabis, but the officers do look for impairment.

"You always think alcohol, but we’ve made plenty of arrests on people that are impaired due to controlled substances," said Chief Donchez.

According to a study from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), THC use increased from 8.6% in 2007 to 12.6% in 2014.

However, the study points out drugs don't imply impairment.

Despite the move from medicinal cannabis to recreational in Missouri, marijuana is still illegal in Kansas.