Crime Labs work to figure out how high is too high to get behind the wheel

Crime Labs work to figure out how high is too high to get behind the wheel »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Next week it's legal to carry pot in Washington. One of the biggest concerns has been people driving while stoned. The concern is the threshold How high is too high to drive? Police will now need a blood test from drivers they suspect of being under the influence of pot.

Lab tech, Andrea Ricci, puts a bud on the scale, "So that weighs 1.65 grams."

She looks closer, "I can say for sure that this material is marijuana."

Andrea Ricci works at the WSP crime lab. She can confirm whether something is marijuana or not within minutes. But since voters made it legal to carry pot, it's going to be more complicated than just confirming whether pot was found.

Police have been worried when you increase the accessibility, you increase the smokers. And there's no rule on how much pot you can have in your system to be considered impaired.

Crime lab manager, Kevin Fortney explains, "Another whole realm of testing."

And that added realm has brought added confusion.

"They have to know when they can arrest somebody.. When charges can be filed," he continues.

For the lab here in Kennewick, three or four cases come in every week where troopers work to determine if something seized is truly pot. They expect to process few of these cases going forward. But they don't expect drug seizures to disappear altogether.

Andrea tells KEPR, "Still expecting to see felony amounts of marijuana."

Despite a lack of testing on the weed itself, the crime lab and toxicology department are prepping for more blood tests to come in.

Kevin asks, "Is it present in the blood, the urine and other bodily fluids?"

Depending on those results, it's up to prosecutors to look at the driver's history, behavior and severity of the traffic stop or accident to determine if charges will be filed.

For Andrea, she knows you never assume anything, "You don't know for sure until you get positive results."

And the exact results for driving while stoned are still...hazy.

"We'll have to wait and see when that time comes," she says.

The new law allows adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana legally. But it is still illegal to buy the drug.