The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has scheduled a hearing for January 6, 2017 to hear argument regarding the relevance and admissibility of certain evidence regarding driving under the influence of marijuana.
After the case was remanded to the district court for consideration of several questions raised by the high court, it has returned to the SJC after the issues seem to have been distilled to four key questions.
Primarily, the court will hear arguments regarding whether there is a scientifically established correlation between marijuana use and impaired driving. The SJC has indicated that without any established correlation, it is likely unnecessary to proceed with considering any other issues raised by the parties.
Those other issues include whether physical characteristics such as bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils infer impaired driving due to marijuana use. Similarly, whether there is a scientifically established correlation between impaired driving due to marijuana use and the driver’s performance of the field sobriety tests usually used to determine impairment from alcohol.
Finally, if those correlations are scientifically established, may a police officer or other lay witness testify as to their observations of a driver suspected of marijuana use, or should testimony of an expert witness be required because impairment by marijuana is not within the common knowledge of lay jurors.