Medical Marijuana DUI - Driving Under Influencemarijuana laws legal marijuana legalize marijuana marijuana legalization medical marijuana marijuana cannabis
Posted 29 March 2012 - 05:13 PM
Driving back from Harborside Health Center in the days before the famed medical marijuana dispensary was blasted onto Discovery Channel, I struggled to keep my car on the road.
I was way too high, and should never have gotten behind the wheel.
But whenever I admit to myself that marijuana can have side effects, to say so sounds like I am agreeing with the drug warriors whoâ€™ve long exaggerated marijuanaâ€™s potential â€œharms.â€
All excuses aside, I was too stoned to be operating a ton of pollution-generating machinery. In the previous few hours, Iâ€™d smoked Trainwreck, Blue Dream, three kinds of Kush, some Honey Wax, and eaten part of a medible.
It was that darnned medible that put the icing on the THC, I said to myself as I laughed insanely at the sheer "genius" of my wit.
It didnâ€™t help that I was listening to ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett on my surround sound audio system.
Steve is the most heartfelt, lyrically-sensitive, mind-bending guitarist-songwriter working today. His textured, haunting music and lyrics lead your mind off into outer and inner space...but that's not a place you can afford to be when you're driving Interstate 80 near Berkeley during rush hour.
At least I had the good sense to drive slowly, and in the right-hand lane.
I kept slapping my face and head while yelling, â€œStay alert, stay focused, get past this traffic jam, then get your ass off the road, you stupid stoner.â€ Kept repeating that warning, welcoming the semi-sobering surge of self-loathing adrenalin that cleared my head a little.
When finally Iâ€™d gotten past the Bay Area's industrialized traffic-jammed nightmare and could turn north towards Humboldt, I saw a dirt road leading off into gold-burnished hills, rattled over a cattle guard, turned off the car, climbed onto the roof with a bottle of water, put on Steveâ€™s Beyond the Shrouded Horizon (a brilliant album that sounds like Beethoven mixed with Jimi Hendrix mixed with early Peter Gabriel Genesis), and drifted off into a dreamy marijuana haze.
I made it home 16 hours later, and was reminded of that too-stoned journey recently when I heard legislators in various medical marijuana states are determined to pass laws regulating driving under the influence of marijuana.
Why do they want to do that? Hereâ€™s an example of marijuana-driving hysteria from a report in mainstream propaganda media:
â€œMarijuana causes dizziness, slowed reaction time and drivers are more likely to drift and swerve while they're high.
Dr. Bob DuPont, president of the Institute for Behavior and Health, a non-government institute that works to reduce drug abuse, says research proves "the terrible carnage out there on the roads caused by marijuana."
One recent review of several studies of pot smoking and car accidents suggested that driving after smoking marijuana might almost double the risk of being in a serious or fatal crash.
And a recent nationwide census of fatal traffic accidents showed that while deadly crashes have declined in recent years, the percentage of mortally wounded drivers who later tested positive for drugs rose 18 percent between 2005 and 2011.
DuPont, drug czar for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, wrote a paper last year on drugged driving for the Obama administration, which has made the issue a priority.â€
Oh, take a chill pill already, DuPont. Yes, this DuPont is from the same bloodline of DuPont quislings whose family corporation was partly responsible for hemp and marijuana being outlawed in 1937. They wanted hemp outlawed because its industrial uses competed with DuPont nylon and other petroleum-based products.
As always it is with arbitrary-minded government folk, they go for simplistic, draconian "solutions." They're proposing a maximum blood plasma level for THC, as if X percent of cannabinoids equals X percent of driving impairment. It's the THC equivalent of the blood alcohol approach.
But medical marijuana, and its users, are far more sophisticated than alcohol and its fans. The legislators don't understand the nuances, but the rest of us get it that if you drink past a certain point, you're going to go comatose or worse. Not so for marijuana, which has a completely different set of physiological effects on your body.
And anti-marijuana politicians donâ€™t understand is that everybodyâ€™s head responds differently to marijuana. Some people drive better when theyâ€™re stoned. They're more cautious, less prone to road rage. Some people smoke huge amounts of the most potent cannabis, but you canâ€™t even tell theyâ€™re high.
Other people smoke only a couple of grams and start sounding like theyâ€™re auditioning for a Cheech and Chong movie.
We all know that whenever politicians get involved in medical morality they tend to make a hash of things, and Iâ€™m not talking about bubblehash, either.
We all know that medical marijuana users should drive safely, whether we have THC in our body or not. I learned my lesson during that crazy drive from Harborside. I'll never make that mistake again.
If politicians really want to help make the roads safer, all they have to do is encourage police to enforce laws against going too fast, bumpering, speeding, running red lights, unsafe lane changes, failure to use turn signals, broken headlights, flipping birds, running into pedestrians and bicylistsâ€¦in other words, laws against dangerous driving behavior, â€‹not against THC in my body.
Donâ€™t go adding insult to blood tests by making a law saying if I have a certain amount of THC in my blood that it means I am automatically â€œimpaired," so they can add a marijuana DUI to my legal woes. Because I have been around people who never get impaired no matter how much THC they ingest, and people who drive like maniacs even though theyâ€™ve never ingested THC!
And you notice that the anti-marijuana politicians aren't pushing for maximum blood levels for other drugs that more automatically diminish driving capacity than marijuana ever could.
Valium, Vicodin, Percocet, Soma...where are the specific DUI codes and blood level legal triggers for those drugs that so easily make it hard to properly operate a motor vehicle?
Let's just enforce the laws against bad driving behaviors, and leave it at that.
Now let me get back to worrying about whether they'll try to ban Steve Hackett from car audio systems.
Daniel Dharma has a master's degree that combines religious studies, neuropsychology and counseling. He's spent years examining the inner terrain of medical marijuana use, culture and gardening.
Posted 31 March 2012 - 11:08 AM
Posted 31 March 2012 - 12:39 PM
"When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy". They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life...." John Lennon
Posted 31 March 2012 - 01:47 PM
Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:23 AM
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