An interesting #dilemma
November 16, 2012 4 Comments
Several states have long decriminalized “medical” marijuana. Recently Colorado (55% for and 45% against) and Washington (55.5 for and 44.5 against) enacted legislation to decriminalize possession and recreational use of marijuana. As with any change in the law, there are other consequences involved. Putting aside the issues of state law vs. federal law, one of the most significant of those issues is driving while under the influence of marijuana. While few people go home, smoke marijuana and beat up their family, it is not infrequent that people impaired by marijuana cause car wrecks. I am not sure if the primary cause is that they were reaching for Cheetos, popping down gummy bears, or just swerved after dropping a joint, but we often see defendants charged with DUI “other.”
The problem with DUI other with marijuana is trying to find an accurate method of determining impairment. It appears the states that have decriminalized marijuana are grappling with this issue. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has a sense of humor about the whole situation, “This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”
Regardless of how citizens feel about decriminalization or what amount shows impairment, I suspect that public sentiment favoring legalization will change if there is a significant increase in serious injuries in marijuana related wrecks. We can only hope that partakers will stay at home rather than getting behind the wheel.