February 27, 2013
Kent police have arrested a Puyallup man for supposedly driving under the influence of marijuana, based on the fact that the man’s tongue appeared to have a ‘green film.’
“As soon as the officer came to the vehicle, he asked me to stick out my tongue,” said Simmons to Q13 Fox.
31 year old Mike Simmons said he was put in jail Tuesday for 13 hours and is now in debt $5,000 for fee’s including lawyers and towing due to the incident. He has also been told he can not drive while out on bail.
Simmons said that the officer told him that the green film on his tongue was a sign that he was using marijuana. Simmons said he had used marijuana three days prior, but was completely sober during the incident, while on his lunch break.
Despite nothing being found in Simmons car, the police claimed the tongue was probable cause. Simmons denied the police’s request for a blood sample stating that he wanted a lawyer present for the blood draw. Under Washington state’s newly established marijuana legalization, the law dictates that a driver can’t have more than 5 nanograms of THC in their blood.
“I just feel like the system they have is unfair,” said Simmons.
Washington state criminal defense lawyer Steve Graham, who has dealt with such claims before said, “we find no case stating that recent marijuana usage leads to a green tongue. The only case we could find that remotely supports such a proposition is State v. Baity, 140 Wn.2d 1, 991 P.2d 1151 (2000), wherein the opinion’s fact section mentions that the defendant, who had admitted to recent marijuana usage, also had a green tongue. Beyond this observation, however, the court never analyzes whether the green tongue and the recent marijuana usage are linked.”
Simmons says he may also sue the Kent Police Department.
Just last year Washington’s newly-elected Governor Jay Inslee met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss Washington’s new marijuana legalization policies, including the controversial DUI provision.
At this time it appears the federal government may attempt to stop Washington and Colorado from moving foward based on comment’s made by Gil Kerlikowske, President Obama’s Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Mikael’s article was first featured at Examiner.com.