While the U.S. Congress is not ready — yet — to re-legalize cannabis, that same group is clearly taking steps around the issue. A new highway bill includes a study of “drugged driving,” which keeps popping up as more states free the weed. Here’s more:
The nation’s new multi-year highway bill includes important provisions supported by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) that will help define clear standards and establish assessment protocols for law enforcement to use in fighting marijuana-impaired driving. The provisions take effect as states continue to legalize or decriminalize the drug and as states like Colorado, where it is now legal, are reporting a marked increase in drugged-driving accidents and fatalities. [Last claim is questionable — DB]
There is currently no scientific consensus regarding the level at which marijuana consumption impairs a driver and no effective way to measure this impairment in the field. This is problematic for law enforcement who, in contrast, can quickly and effectively establish a scientifically and legally-supported measure of alcohol impairment.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, signed into law earlier this month and approved by broad, bipartisan majorities in Congress, authorizes five years of federal highway and transit funding. It directs the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a comprehensive study on marijuana-impaired driving and to assess methods and devices that measure marijuana impairment in motor vehicle operators.
There is quite a bit more detail to this story at the complete, original post HERE.
Don’t miss that “supported by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.” And it is just wrong to say there is “no effective way to measure this impairment in the field.” There is the roadside sobriety test. Long before DWI law became blowing into a machine, cops got convictions based on their testimony about how well or poorly a driver did on the roadside sobriety test. That is still an effective tool. The real unspoken complaint is that alcohol impacts coordination differently than cannabis does. Alcohol impairment is reasonably easy to spot. Cops worry about being fooled by a toker able to maintain.
The road we travel will, eventually, return the cannabis plant to polite society. This Congressional study shows that everyone knows re-legalization is inevitable. What our efforts lack, what we need right now, is a leader looked up to by everyone in the movement. Someone willing to be the tip of the spear. You know what happens to the tip of the spear, don’t you?
Whoever he or she turns out to be, it’s time for them to put in an appearance. Until they do, you and I need to keep the pressure up. The last time re-legalization was anywhere near this close Jimmy Carter was President. We must not let this opportunity slip away. It’s on us if that happens.