Thursday, May 12, 2016

Smoke or Drive?

You know who seems to have all of the answers?  Proponents of legalized marijuana.  They are able to explain away all of the negative effects of both the drug's use and distribution.

Since states like Colorado, Oregon and Washington approved the recreational use and sale of pot, neighboring states--and even some farther away, like Wisconsin--have seen increased trafficking of marijuana.  "Mules" drive out to Colorado--stock up on "legal pot"--and then drive back home to repackage and illegally distribute their purchase to their own network of buyers.  Nebraska could probably drop their income and sales taxes and just get by on drug bust fines and cash seizures if they put enough cops on the interstates leading into and out of Colorado.

And what is the solution to this problem from the legalized pot crowd?  "Well it wouldn't be a problem if you would just legalize marijuana in your state too."

This week, the state of Washington reported that the rate of fatal crashes involving drivers with THC--the active ingredient in marijuana--in their systems has more than doubled since pot was legalized in that state.  Marijuana use was a factor in just eight percent of fatal crashes there in 2013.  But that jumped to 17-percent the next year--right after pot became legal.

And the answer from the dopers?  "That's just because more people are smoking pot now--you can't prove being high caused all of those fatal crashes."

The potheads do have a point--you can't "prove" that being high caused those crashes because there is no legal definition of "being high".  Every state has a "legal limit" for intoxication--usually .08% blood alcohol content.  But there is no "legal limit" for THC in your bloodstream (or any other drug for that matter) because--until recently--having any amount of pot in your system was illegal. 

As we have found with same-sex marriage and family law statutes--if you are going to make something that was formerly not legal, legal--you need to do the work of changing every other statute that may be impacted by that legalization.  But when voters approved recreational marijuana referenda in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, they didn't consider the legal ramifications.

Of course, the stoners have an answer for this legal quandary as well: "You can't have a 'legal limit' 'cuz not everyone gets high at the same level."  Again they have a point, long-time pot smokers build up a tolerance--so more weed needs to be smoked to achieve the same level of effect.  But this same argument was made after blood alcohol limits went into effect--some people can "hold their liquor" better than others--but courts eventually found that a legal standard was constitutional--and no one was going to be able to prove that .08% for them was "not drunk".

Hopefully, the stoner states of Washington, Oregon and Colorado will finally get around to establishing legal limits for marijuana use and driving.  Let's hope they go with 0.0%

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