The use of medical marijuana in Colorado has its lawmakers trying to define a level of “buzz” that’s too high to drive.
Sixteen of the fifty states allow medical marijuana. The majority have a “zero-tolerance” policy about the presence of an illegal substance. The proposal in Colorado would make it one of the most “liberal” in the nation when it comes to enforcing a measurable limit, tying it with Pennsylvania’s law.
An article from the Associated Press contained what I thought was an amusing line about a lawmaker who has co-sponsored a bill that would impose a specific limit:
Levy, a Democrat from Boulder, said she’s gotten resistance from medical marijuana advocates who fear it will restrict patients from using the drug.
If the patients are going to be behind the wheel, then they should be restricted from using the drug. Or alcohol. Or any other kind of medication, prescription or otherwise, that might make them so impaired that they injure someone else with a moving automobile.
Advocates of medical marijuana argue that the law should not set a limit based solely on the amount of the drug in their system, but on the “totality of the case,” such as how the person was driving at the time and any other relevant observations the arresting officer makes about the driver’s condition.
Medical marijuana users, they argue, may have a “higher tolerance” which would allow them to function with higher amounts of the drug in their system.
But how are you supposed to realistically test for that?
The same could be argued for alcoholics. And while I’m sure that there are alcoholics who drive regularly with blood-alcohol levels above the legal limit, but who have developed such a tolerance over the years that they’re not as impaired, if they happen to get pulled for some kind of bad behavior behind the wheel, they’re going to face the music if they’re checked.
It’s their choice, if they think they can handle it, to get behind the wheel even if they shouldn’t. And the best the rest of us can do is pray that they don’t injure themselves or someone else. If they can handle it, it’s unlikely they’d ever be stopped, anyway.
But that’s a risk they have to be willing to take. That’s not unreasonable.
Still, the limit is there. It isn’t secret. And if they’re not willing to operate inside of it, no matter what medical conditions they suffer if they lay off the alcohol and no matter the level of psychological need they feel to drink, there is a price to be paid.
Set a reasonable limit. If it’s five nanograms, which some medical experts say is a fair benchmark for deciding impairment, then let it be.
Anyone who can’t stay within that limit shouldn’t drive. Or be willing to have the book thrown at them if they do.
It should be as simple as that.