Drivers in Finland will not be punished for TGC metabolite in analyzes
The Finnish Supreme Court forbade police to punish drivers whose analyzes revealed a metabolite of THC. According to the court, the breakdown product of cannabinoid is not evidence of driving under the influence of drug intoxication.
Metabolite THC Does Not Affect Driving Skills
Depending on the dose taken, THC remains in the blood for six to eight hours. However, the secondary metabolite of the substance carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH) persists in the body from three days to several weeks and indicates that the person smoked marijuana. Unlike THC, THC-COOH does not cause drug intoxication and therefore does not affect the driver’s ability to drive.
A toxicologist at the National Institute for Health and Well-being, Teemu Gunnar, believes law enforcement officers should not impose sanctions on drunk driving against people in whose blood THC-COOH was found. The Supreme Court agreed with the expert’s opinion and issued a ruling ordering the police to amend the current rules on punishment for driving under the influence of drugs.
Parliament will amend the Criminal Code
A few years ago, the Finnish Supreme Court overturned the indictment of a driver who was convicted of drunk driving after discovering a TGC metabolite in his blood. Despite the court’s conclusion, police and prosecutors continued to bring cases against people for THC-COOH, as the Penal Code states that the driver is intoxicated if his blood contains a narcotic substance or its metabolite. To solve this problem, the court ordered parliamentarians to amend the current law, according to which the driver could not be punished for a drunken ride if his driving skills were not impaired due to drug use.
Cannabis is the second most popular among Finnish drivers
Amphetamine has become the most popular drug among drivers. Last year, police found this substance in analyzes of 5,107 drivers. Cannabis is on the second line for this indicator: THC was found in the blood of 1,784 drivers, and THC-COOH was identified in 3,794 cases. Law enforcement officers said that the drivers are sent for a medical examination if the policeman has suspicions. For example, the breathalyzer does not show ppm, but there are signs of intoxication. In this case, the driver is offered to take a blood test for drugs.
Helsinki Police Department inspector Ilpo Payunen claims that people who smoked marijuana a few days ago are generally not punished. According to him, the policeman begins to doubt the sobriety of the driver when he makes mistakes while driving or behaves inappropriately. At a moderate dosage, THC does not significantly affect driving skills and behavior, therefore, in most cases, not only cannabinoid but also other narcotic substances are found in driver analyzes.