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New Report Calls for Moratorium on Use of Most Widely Used Field Drug Tests

  • Report Entitled ‘False Positives Equal False Justice’ Reveals that the Most Widely Used Field Test for Identifying Marijuana and other Drugs Test Positive on Non-Illegal Substances
    Marijuana Policy Project, March 4, 2009
    Straight to the Source

Editor's Note: Before there was a  war on raw milk producers and  non-GMO farmers, there was a war on drugs. As the new study "False Positives Equal False Justice" explains, because field drug tests used by police officers are so faulty, it's likely that something in your pocket, home, or car could be used by a malicious or ignorant cop to trigger a false-positive drug test and provide the basis for your arrest. It's happened to a consumer of organic soap and makers of organic raw chocolate. Unless we get the police to stop using faulty drug tests, it could happen to you.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, March 3 the Marijuana Policy Project and Mintwood Media Collective released a new report exposing faulty drug tests used by law enforcement in the U.S. and Canada. The study, entitled "False Positives Equal False Justice," reveals that the NIK NarcoPouch 908/Duquenois-Levine Reagent field test kit, the most widely used field test for identifying marijuana, as well as the majority of other drug test kits used as the basis for arrest and prosecution by law enforcement have an unacceptably high rate of rendering false positives. Read the report at http://mpp.org.

Rob Kampia, Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project explained their position, “In terms of policy recommendations, it’s real simple, no one should be using these faulty field tests, they should be thrown out and the company that’s making them should probably be put out of business.” Natural soap, chocolate and newspaper, among other household items, all will test positive for marijuana and other drugs such as GHB, yet these kits continue to be used in both arrests and prosecutions nationwide. Kampia continued “In our society we have the principle that you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, these tests turn that on it’s head.”

Dr. Omar Bagasra, director of the South Carolina Center for Biotechnology at Claflin University commented on the experiments he conducted for the report. “While testing the specificity of the KN Reagent test kits with 42 non-marijuana substances, I observed that 70% of these tests rendered a false positive.”

The report documents that law enforcement officials, forensic drug analysts, and prosecutors knowingly employ the flawed Duquenois-Levine and KN Reagent tests as well as mere conclusory police reports to wrongfully prosecute and convict millions of individuals for anti-marijuana law violations. These wrongful prosecutions and convictions violate Supreme Court rulings, specifically Jackson v. Virginia and Daubert v. Dow Merrell Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which prohibit the use of inaccurate, nonspecific tests and/or conclusive reports because they do not prove the presence of marijuana in a seized substance.

Forensics expert and author of the report, John Kelly (kjohn39679 [at] aol.com) writes in the Executive Summary, “It is imperative that law enforcement agencies take notice and voluntarily end the use of these flawed drug tests. The essential need of protecting the innocent must outweigh the convenience of a field drug test that only gives accurate information some of the time.”

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