SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two state House Republicans are trying to pass a law that would allow police officers to order the testing of the blood of people they think are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. House Bill 158 clarifies who can perform a blood test; that the blood test can be used to detect alcohol or drugs like cannabis; and that in order to get the blood test, police have to get a search warrant from a judge.

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“What this law does is it gives the officer the ability with everything that they’re seeing whether it’s bad driving, the smell of marijuana, I’ll just use marijuana as an example, seeing marijuana in the car, the field sobriety test in general or the drug recognition field sobriety test to then apply for a search warrant,” says Representative Andrea Reeb (R-Clovis), co-sponsor of this bill.

A judge would then have to determine if there was probable cause to test someone’s blood for drugs or alcohol. Using the example of Marijuana Reeb says currently if police suspect someone of driving under the influence of drugs from seeing or smelling marijuana in the car they can ask to do a blood test, but can’t do anything if the person refuses.

Reeb says this gives police and prosecutors another tool, as well as helps show juries more evidence. “I believe that this is a bill that provides safety and people believe that DWIs aren’t happening while under the influence of cannabis; they’re happening all the time, in every jurisdiction and people are dying from and state police are seeing it and they support this,” Reeb says.

One person spoke in opposition to this bill via zoom: “I think this bill is like, totally insane. How are you gonna, there’s no actual limit for what you would do when you’re testing a person for cannabis and obviously as you said cannabis stays in your system for a while,” they said, “It just seems completely arbitrary and it seems like you’re just making it easier for people, for the police to prosecute people who are smoking marijuana, or who they assume are under the influence of marijuana.”

Some house committee members spoke in favor of this bill, citing the accuracy of blood tests in determining if someone is on drugs like fentanyl and cocaine. Representative Reeb defended her bill saying this is aligned with one of the governor’s initiatives to crack down on DWIs. Reeb says state police are in support of it as well.

This bill did not go to a vote Thursday. Committee members asked Reeb to fix some wording in the bill and return back.

A Fiscal Impact Report on this bill says getting the search warrants and processing the tests could increase costs, and that it could invite lawsuits.