More DUI Samples Are Testing Positive For Marijuana In Montana

More DUI samples are testing positive for marijuana in Montana

The Montana Department of Justice reports that the number of DUI cases in which samples have tested positive for marijuana-related substances has increased in recent years, but it’s more complicated than a single number.

This information comes from his 2021 Annual Report for the DOJ’s Division of Forensics, commonly known as the State Crime Lab.

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In 2021, the first year since voter-approved Initiative 190 decriminalized marijuana possession, the Crime Lab will report 621 DUI cases, with samples tested against THC (the compound that gives marijuana a high).

A product was tested that was positive for According to the report, this is a 17% increase for him from 530 in 2020. But it’s not a trend that started then.

In 2019, there were 464 DUI cases that tested positive for marijuana-related substances. 454 in 2018 and 284 in 2017. According to MHP Sgt. Jay Nelson, the data match what soldiers saw on the street. He said the agency could not point to his one factor explaining the entire surge.

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Last year, crime labs processed 4,138 blood samples from DUI cases. Less than half of those, 1,747, were tested for drugs other than alcohol.

This is because laboratories generally do not test for drugs if the measured blood alcohol concentration is above 0.1 compared to the legal limit of 0.08. Of the samples tested for the drug, 39% showed signs of THC, and 47% showed THC or one of its byproducts, according to the report.

A notable trend is an increase in samples showing multiple substances, including alcohol and marijuana. In 2021, the lab reported 127 cases of him, where someone tested positive for both alcohol and THC, and another 205 cases where someone tested positive for alcohol, THC, and another drug. These numbers have increased by 8% and 9% respectively from 2020.

A statewide Montana Highway Patrol finds the majority to be “polydrug users,” Nelson said. Pepper Petersen, president, and CEO of the Montana Cannabis Guild was a major proponent of I-190.

They just have marijuana in their system.” He also noted the number of times the samples seemed to indicate a THC byproduct rather than the compound itself. He said these byproducts can remain in some people’s systems for up to 30 days.

We need better evidence, more scientific methods, that the presence of marijuana in the blood equates to a disability,” Petersen said. The increase in reported cases of drug-related impairment is also due to the increased focus of law enforcement agencies on finding these cases.

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According to Nelson, all MHP soldiers in recent years have undergone the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement program training that helps them recognize signs of impairment from causes other than alcohol. “It’s not much different than alcohol detection, but our officers are trained to determine if a person is under the influence of another drug.


Priyanka Sharma

Priyanka Sharma is the content editor at with over 3 years of experience in journalism, Priyanka delivers fresh and accurate news on the cannabis industry to her readers. Her versatility as a writer and editor is showcased in her work. When she's not busy writing and editing, Priyanka can be found exploring new travel destinations and indulging in her love for food.

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