Interviews BLOG

Kirby Lavallee is a private investigator as well as a DUI investigator and drug recognition expert. Much of his experience related to marijuana impairment was while working DUIs. We sat down with Kirby to ask him how he believes marijuana legalization will affect his business and society in general.

TestCountry: How much of an impact do believe legalization would have on your business?

Kirby Lavallee: I will answer this question in two parts. The first part is from my perspective as a Law Enforcement Officer/DUI Investigator and the second part is from my perspective as a Private Investigator.

Law Enforcement / DUI Enforcement:

I truly believe that this would be a huge issue for Law Enforcement Officers nationwide. Most people say marijuana isn't a harsh drug and believe that it doesn't cause any issues. I can say in my experience as a Deputy Sheriff most of the street level violence is drug related, more specifically marijuana because it tends to be more readily available.

Marijuana tends to also be a gateway drug which leads to experimenting with other drugs. Many of the users over time have to increase the amount they use or use it with other drugs to get the same "high".

Marijuana legalization could be dangerous, especially when subjects impaired by marijuana get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Just as alcohol is legal it is still a major problem with people driving impaired. In my experience as a DUI Investigator and Drug Recognition Expert, I’ve dealt with hundreds of impaired drivers. Many of times the subjects who were impaired on drugs were more of a risk than those on alcohol, mostly because they didn't believe that being impaired by drugs was bad or dangerous at all.

Let me explain why. When subjects are impaired on Alcohol (a CNS depressant) they will exhibit signs such as disorientation, drowsiness, drunk like behavior, slow/sluggish reactions, thick slurred speech, fumbling, and being uncoordinated. When someone is impaired on marijuana, they will exhibit signs such as: having body tremors, being disoriented, impaired perception of time and distance, increased appetite, possible paranoia, and relaxed inhibitions. As you can see many of them are similar as with alcohol impairment. So many times, just as people feel they are OK to drive after consuming alcohol the same can be said of those who are on marijuana. Many of them don't even realize the negative effects that come along with smoking marijuana and don't realize how it affects their perception and judgment.

Also, it will be tough for law enforcement to search vehicles due to "the odor of marijuana". If marijuana is legalized law enforcement will no longer be able to search vehicles just because they smell marijuana coming from inside. The same can be said for people searches. So I believe that law enforcement will have some hurdles to cross with catching criminals with other illegal drugs which cannot be detected by smell, along with firearms and other illegal items normally found while conducting searches.

Private Investigator:

I think if more subjects are legally allowed to use marijuana, than personal injury investigations may increase, because people will be high at work while driving, and out in public. As personal injuries increase, more people will be receiving medical benefits and insurance companies will have lawsuit settlements.

Where this comes into play with private investigations is workman's’ compensation investigations and personal injury. Many insurance companies and workplaces already hire private investigators to monitor and surveil subjects who are receiving medical benefits or payouts for "alleged" injuries. It is my belief that if marijuana is legalized more people might possibly be "high" while working, therefore increasing workplace injuries.

TestCountry: How would marijuana legalization affect the court system?

Kirby Lavallee: Marijuana legalization could alleviate several cases from the court system. As it is nowadays, many court cases are possession of marijuana charges. If legalized, it would free the courts up tremendously, I believe. I know in my experience a lot of the cases that I heard while sitting in the courtroom were "possession of marijuana" "trafficking of marijuana" etc. So if these cases were no longer prosecuted they would have more time to deal with and prosecute other issues.

TestCountry: How do you believe it will affect the prison system in terms of population and other factors?

Kirby Lavallee: I think that if legalized fewer people will be incarcerated for marijuana-related crimes.

TestCountry: From your perspective, what are the pros and cons of marijuana legalization?

Kirby Lavallee:

Pros:

  1. Fewer cases clogging up the already overloaded court system
  2. Possibly less drug-related crimes related directly to marijuana, because it wouldn't have such a large demand and people would not have to rob/kill/steal from other marijuana dealers or users
  3. More tax revenue from legal sales
  4. If legalized maybe you will see marijuana being produced that is clean and not laced with other drugs, as it is sometimes

Cons:

  1. Possibly increased burglaries or robberies of business selling marijuana, due to the large amounts of quantity held at that location in addition to the large amounts of cash on hand
  2. Increased number of impaired drivers on the roadway, due to marijuana impairment
  3. More readily available to younger people, therefore possibly having some negative impacts on education or possible health issues
  4. Increased calls for service for EMS or Police, due to people possibly having negative reactions

TestCountry: Do you believe it will eventually be legalized nationwide?

Kirby Lavallee: As we have seen in other states, it appears as though it will eventually become legal. I know in Florida they continue to fight to legalize it, which I believe they may eventually be successful at.

Bio:

Kirby Lavallee: co-founded Sharpline Investigations and oversees the corporate direction and strategy for Sharpline’s field operations, including sales, support, consulting, marketing, and client relations. Lavallee is active in the community and enjoys giving back by speaking at local schools and community events on safety and security.