Quick - blame cannabis
Balloon crash: Govt looks at mandatory drug testing The Government says there is sufficient evidence to support mandatory drug testing in the adventure tourism industry after a report into the Carterton ballooning tragedy released today said cannabis was found in the pilot's system.
Here's the problem with blaming our high rate of tourist deaths on cannabis, simply because someone tests for THC in their system, doesn't mean they were under any influence of the drug enough to impair their motor skills.
THC can stay in peoples systems for up to a month. Because it's an illegal substance, the law refuses to accept there is an impairment level because any level is deemed illegal.
So someone could have had a joint last week and that will show up in a test with no recognition that the level doesn't impact on the user. This is the real danger about the push for road side drug driving tests. With cannabis the most widely used illegal drug, such drift net police operations as road side saliva tests would catch thousands of stoners who while testing for THC wouldn't actually be impaired at all.
The entire thing could become an ongoing mass revenue source because THC levels lower than 5 ng/mL in blood, as MMP point out, don't impact on users...
What is the threshold for considering a driver to be impaired by marijuana?
It is unclear what blood level of THC (the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) constitutes actual impairment. Most credible scientists working on the issue acknowledge the difficulty of pegging THC impairment to a number (in a way similar to drunk driving laws), and epidemiological evidence on the risk of accidents associated with marijuana is much less conclusive than data regarding alcohol.
The most meaningful recent study measuring driver "culpability" (i.e., who is at fault) in 3,400 crashes over a 10-year period indicated that drivers with THC concentrations of less than five ng/mL in their blood have a crash risk no higher than that of drug-free users.2 The crash risk begins to rise above the risk for sober drivers when a marijuana user's THC concentrations in whole blood3 reach five to 10 ng/mL.
The sudden need to blame stoned tourism operators for the high level of tourist deaths is convenient for the Government, because very little to regulate standards has occurred and the auditing of the existing standards don't look like they will be completed for another 3 years.
Best to blame the weed and not examine why the Adventure tourism audit is taking so long.