Dope Smokers Beware: Your Fingerprints Will Squeal On You!
“Hey, Ralph, what’s up with all those flashing lights ahead?”
“I don’t know, Norton. Looks like a construction zone, or something.” Ralph leaned forward, straining to see through bloodshot eyes.
“Yep, it does. They’re never gonna finish the roads around here. Been working on ’em since Grant took Richmond.” Norton turned his head to the side and let out a belly-clearing belch.
“Hand me another beer. This one’s empty,” Ralph said, and then took a final puff off a non-filtered cigarette. He tilted his head back a bit and let the white smoke drift from both nostrils. Then he dropped what was left of the smoldering butt in the bottle, causing a slight sizzle when it hit the remaining foam at the bottom. He gripped the steering wheel with both hands, aiming the old Rambler between the two blurry white lines.
“You got it, buddy,” said Norton. A grunt. “Man, this top’s on pretty…damn, that’s tight.” Another grunt. “Whew, got it. And that’s the last one, too.”
“Well, we gotta stop and get some more,” said Ralph. “I’ve barely got a buzz.”
“Me, too. I guess we’d better smoke another joint to keep it going,” Norton said.
“Fire it up. The night’s early and we’ve got places to go and ladies to see.”
“Hey, Ralph. Those lights are…holy crap…that’s a police road block. They’re checking to see if people are drinking.”
“Quick, throw out the bottles. No, they’ll see that. Toss the empties under the seat. And stash the dope in the console. Don’t forget to hide the bong, too! And the papers. Hide the freakin’ papers.”
“Hey, Ralph. Whatever you do don’t blow in the machine. They can’t make you. That’s what my cousin Rocky said, and his wife’s brother’s a lawyer, so he knows.”
“Shhh…He’s asking me to roll down my window. Don’t say nothin’. Let me do the talking.”
“Evening, Officer. Something wrong?”
“No, sir, I haven’t been drinking.”
Nope, not a drop.”
“My eyes? Oh, I got allergies.”
“Step out of the car? Sure.”
“No, I don’t want to blow in the machine. I don’t think you can make me do that, right?”
“No, I can’t walk that white line. I broke both my legs a few years ago so my balance ain’t so good.”
“A fingerprint instead? Sure, take all ten. The toes, too, if you want.”
“Touch that little box? No problem.”
Easy money. I’ll be back on the road in two shakes of a weasel’s tail.
“Under arrest? What for? I ain’t been drinking…”
“For driving while under the influence of marijuana? But…”
“In my fingerprint! You’re kidding me, right?”
Ralph looked at his index finger, turning it over to inspect the ridges and whorls.
“My fingerprint?” he said as the officer clicked the cuffs in place.
Yep, it’s a easy as that. Scientists at Intelligent Fingerprinting have developed a handheld device that can detect the breakdown products from drugs such as, cocaine, methadone, and marijuana. The machine applies gold nanoparticles coated with antibodies to a fingerprint, which then stick to antigens on specific metabolites. Fluorescent dyes attach to the antibodies and highlight the presence of any metabolites. And, in short, those metabolites contain traces of drugs, if any.
In the past, it’s been quite difficult to prove that someone is driving while under the influence of drugs (blood tests, usually). Now, with this new device, officers will be able to make that determination in the field, within minutes.
As a former x-ray tech with over 20 years experience, this type of technology will put to rest the usual ‘pot never harms anyone else’ argument thrown out by those who want to see it broadly legalized. We have enough legal chemicals that affect a person when they are driving if taken before they get into a car that we do not need any more.
As for the argument that pot smokers stay at home, try and enforce that all the time and see how far you get. I saw too much level 1 trauma caused by people doing things that they knew they should not have been doing but the entitlement attitude was far too strong to overcome. The end result was always as predictable as it was tragic.
This might be a turning point in the marijuana legalization fight. Two of the biggest complaints have been the lack of a reliable roadside test for usage, as well as an intoxication standard. I suspect the latter is a ways off still, but this looks interesting.
Hehehehehehehe. Years ago, a guy T-boned me, jumped out of the car and said, “I knew I shouldn’t have smoked that last joint!” I reported his confession to the officer who came to make the report, but of course there wasn’t any way proof. Glad to know technology would probably catch him today. If the PD can afford the kits.
I am thrilled to read this. I live in a Southern town where I used to wonder why everyone drove badly and then I handled their medical records and learned most of this place is on LOADS & LOADS of drugs — legal AND illegal. I always hated to hear the news blaming it all on alcohol in cases where it was not just the 25 beers but the gazillion other drugs that they never mentioned and that those in law enforcement and various records jobs could not talk about.
One would think in most cases, the detection of a “strong odor of marijuana” and the subject’s “bloodshot, glassy eyes and dilated pupils” would be enough (or too much, depending on your perspective), but alas, the courts hold you lawmen types to an impossible standard!
Oh, Lee, this is awesome information. Thanks.
PJ – Yes it is.
Nike – I’ll bet Ralph and Norton weren’t laughing…
Cynthia – Thanks so much for the kind words, and for your support.
Your blog is inviting, interesting, informative, and helpful. Love the way you present information in story form with pictures. One of the few blogs I turn to regularly. Thanks! Cynthia Riggs, Martha’s Vineyard Mystery Series.
Great article. I’m grinning.
Ain’t technology grand.