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Drug-driving warning after motorcyclist admits cannabis offence

By Court Reporter

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A motorcyclist has been warned that drug-driving will be treated as seriously as drink-driving after admitting to driving after taking cannabis.

The warning came after Wick Sheriff Court heard that the youngster naively told police he was ‘okay’ as he had taken the drug but hadn't drunk any alcohol.

Supermarket worker Jordan Longmuir was found to have been more than three times the limit for the cannabis-based drug Delta-9 – tetrahydrocannabinol, and is thought to be the first such case involving that drug to come before the Caithness court. He had a reading of 7 microgrammes of the drug which exceeded the limit of 2 microgrammes of it per litre of blood.

The 21-year-old motorcyclist came to the attention of the police officers as he neared his home in Ormlie Road, Thurso, on February 3 as someone they suspected might have taken drugs.

Fiscal David Barclay said that when stopped, Longmuir told officers, "I’m okay because I haven’t been drinking,” and volunteered the information that he had taken cannabis.

Mr Barclay told Wick Sheriff Court on Wednesday: “This is a prime example of the situation where people are well aware of the risks and dangers of drink-driving and are only now catching up on the fact that medication, whether prescribed or otherwise, can have a significant bearing on someone’s driving ability. The Road Traffic Act has been updated to include additional drugs.”

The fiscal added: “Longmuir was surprised to find himself in this situation but to be fair to him, there are many others who are finding themselves in the same boat but are slowly catching up.”

Sheriff Andrew Berry commented: “It may be the first case of its kind to call in this court.”

Solicitor Sylvia MacLennan said that Longmuir had stopped taking cannabis since the offence and wanted to “sort himself out”.

Sheriff Berry said that drug-driving was “very much on the police radar” and continued that in the public interest and in terms of public safety he would stress that driving with drugs would be dealt with on the same basis as driving with excess alcohol.

The sheriff conceded that the drug involved in Longmuir’s case was a relatively new addition to the legislation.

Sentence was deferred until September 15 to ascertain whether a rehabilitation course would be open to the accused who was also banned from driving.

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