Driving baked? Police looking for stoned drivers

SEATTLE -- Drive high, get a DUI. That's the warning from police around the state now that legal pot is being sold in retail stores in Washington.

Washington State Patrol Sgt. Mark Crandall said, "The question that we’re going to hear more often is, how much have you had to smoke?"

Crandall is one of 215 drug recognition experts in the state. They are called in when a driver is suspected of being high.

The sobriety tests are similar to the hand-eye tests for alcohol, but the experts are also checking for other clues, like eye fluttering when the suspect leans their head back and closes their eyes.

A driver who’s high may be able to walk the white line just fine but may forget an officer's verbal instructions.

"They’re not going to be staggering all over like you’ll see with a drunk," said Luke Bogues, a Port Townsend police officer, who is also a drug recognition expert. "But there’s going to be other clues, like they’re going to forget what they’re doing, or they're going to be asking you more questions."

If, after all the sobriety tests, the officer still believes a driver is stoned, they will have to get a search warrant to get a blood sample and check for THC levels. That can double the time it takes to process a driver who is high, compared with a drunken driver.

Bogues said it is worth it.

"This is the one thing I can do, taking an impaired driver off the road, where I feel like I very well may have saved a life that day."