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December 2013
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Why is this so hard?

So many people act terrified of the notion of some apparently inevitable epidemic of stoned drivers on the road and that we’ll be unable to do anything about it unless we pass zero tolerance per se laws for any amount of metabolites in your system (that’s the ONDCP position).

And yet, as least this Washington State Patrol trooper seems to have figured out how to strictly police the roads without focusing on per se laws.

Hicks said before troopers ask for a blood test, they look at the totality of the circumstances including why they stopped someone, what they saw, heard and smell. Troopers also administer a field sobriety test just like they do with a suspected drunk driver. The test includes a test to see if a driver’s eyes will cross as they move a penlight closer to their nose. If they don’t cross, that could be a symptom of being high on marijuana. After all that, they make a decision on whether a motorist is impaired.

“You may smoke marijuana every day and your tolerance level and what you can function at may be above 5 nanograms,” Hicks said. “If I get you and I run you through everything that we normally do and I don`t see the impairment, then it`s irrelevant to me how much THC is in your blood. You could have 20 nanograms. I have no legal reason to arrest you.’”

So what’s the deal, ONDCP? Do you officially think that all police are incompetent? That they’re unable to perform this simple process of evaluating impairment?

Or will you admit that the policies you’re promoting have nothing to do with road safety or science and are just a back door way to punish marijuana users?

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19 comments to Why is this so hard?

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    They’ve been spreading the manure that nobody can tell if people are “impaired” by cannabis for at least a decade. None of the outsiders seem to have the thought cross their minds that if you can’t tell that someone is impaired that they’re not.

    What causes me to go pound my head against a brick wall is these idiots have to presume that there is a large cohort of people who refuse to enjoy cannabis for no reason other than that they have such a deep seated respect for the law. They also have to believe that this invisible cohort is “sober” for no other reason that they refuse to get high on any other substance including drinking alcohol.

    Now the “thinking” further requires the beyond laughably absurd presumption that if this cohort of people, “sober” for no other reason than their deep seated respect for the law is allowed to legally choose to enjoy cannabis then they will transm0ogrify into scofflaws and go out driving while impaired. Conclusion: engaging in lawful activity will cause the law abiding to become criminals. Go figure that one out. But then just about everyone reading this blog understands that the sycophants of prohibition just aren’t very bright people.

    Of course the prohibitchionest parasites encourage them to believe this nonsense. I’ve already read claims that cannabis addled DUIs in the State of Washington have increased “exponentially.” That’s right folks, 745 arrests over 6 months when the average before re-legalization was “around” 500 is being described as an “epidemic” of cannabis addled driving.

    One problem that I foresee going forward is the dynamic that led to those 245 DUI-muggles arrests is that in the past the cops that filed those charges would have charged those drivers with petty possession instead. Until I-502 was approved by the voters of Washington State petty possession had a mandatory minimum term of incarceration. Yes, only a single day but what’s the expected term of incarceration for DUI? So I’m pretty sure that we can expect a noticeable increase in arrests for cannabis addled driving in the State of Washington because of this dynamic. But we do have Colorado which had been a civil penalty for petty possession previously and I’m not so sure that the Colorado JBTs would have been satisfied just writing a ticket for petty possession.

    Please keep in mind that you’re almost certainly just blowing wind off the wall at best if you try to explain the reality of driving after choosing to enjoy cannabis to the dullard sycophants. I’m going to stick with the point that the problem isn’t cannabis addled driving, it’s the total number of drivers impaired by anything. That guy arrested for cannabis addled driving would have been driving around shit faced drunk if he had no cannabis. At worst that’s a lateral move for highway safety.

    Oh well, we will get by, but I’m going to make sure that I keep a brick wall handy.

    • strayan

      “I can’t tell if some has used cannabis because they behave just like everyone else”

      *PANIC*

    • strayan

      “The most frightening thing about marijuana is that you can drive a car and no one can tell that you’re impaired”

      – The average prohibidiot

  • Jean Valjean

    ” just a back door way to punish marijuana users”
    Add it to the very long list of such underhanded and disguised persecutions…but then what do you expect from generations of witch hunters?

  • Howard

    What the Washington State Patrol trooper is describing is an anathema to the ONDCP, DEA, NIDA, etc. It goes against their ‘yes or no’, ‘black or white’, ‘on or off’ dogma. To invite, subtly, variation or range into their position is to invite self destruction (although they are self destructing anyway).

    This reminds me of a canned response I received after signing a petition requesting hemp to be allowed to be grown as a crop in the US;

    “Hemp and marijuana are part of the same species of cannabis plant. While most of the THC in cannabis plants is concentrated in the marijuana, all parts of the plant, including hemp, can contain THC, a Schedule I controlled substance. The Administration will continue looking for innovative ways to support farmers across the country while balancing the need to protect public health and safety.” (signed by Gil but likely penned by some content-writing lackey).

    So this morning, when I poured a little hemp milk on my oatmeal, I was obviously endangering the health and safety of the public…

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Here in D.C. the politicians have signature machines so that they can personally sign all their documents without the hassle of actually risking writer’s cramp.

      If you think that’s absurd give me a little pity because it actually makes sense to me. It’s just a fact of life in Big Government’s back yard.

  • Servetus

    The tension that exists is between zero-tolerance enforcement in prohibitch dominated communities, and those communities that reside higher on the scale of social evolution, thereby making them far more lenient.

    The contrast can be witnessed in California. The northern coastal areas favor marijuana legalization by 70%, whereas in central California the legalizers make up only 50%. In the center is Fresno County, with a population just under one-million, a county and city whose politics is subjugated by the religious right. That’s why there are no medical marijuana dispensaries in Fresno. Among other things, the guy who invented three-strikes lives there. He’s part of the same culture that drives the persecution of pot smokers, zero-tolerance law enforcement, coercive drug treatments, militarization of the police, and excessive use of police force. They’re an authoritarian column. I dubbed them Bible Nazis. For the Bible Nazi, marijuana is a critical part of their culture war against liberals.

    Choosing facts over hysteria is apparent whenever prohibitches get involved. The know-nothings need to be called on their motives. Besides willful ignorance, they’re not being altruistic in their demands for drug enforcement, as biological altruism is nearly always kinship-based in ways that can be precisely calculated. The United States isn’t the only country that’s afflicted by groups like these. They’re a problem everywhere. It’s a situation that demands human rights law prosecute certain Bible Nazis for their political crimes against humanity.

  • Malc

    It’s been a long, dizzy and glorious day for drug law reform. If I spend any more time on comment threads my wife has threatened she’ll divorce me. The real reason is she wants to watch another episode of Mad Men together 🙂

    • Citizen Teus

      Go enjoy some time, bro. There’ll be space on the couch when you get back. (Not to speak for anyone else)

  • darkcycle

    Turn off the ‘puter and give your Honey the remote, Malcolm. Enjoy your evening.

  • claygooding

    The “deal” with Motorola and they’re lobbyist former DEA Admin Karen Tandy seems to be stalled,,have to increase funding on proper committee members to pass more budgeting to get hi-tech saliva testers for police agencies across America,,never mind that they are still trying to get private investors to build enough rehab facilities to handle 800,000 marijuana possession arrests per year before they can even hope to change from incarceration too rehab.
    Hot air and methane gasses erupting where their mouths should be is all we get,,more ways to persecute marijuana users costing more tax dollars and stopping nothing..

  • tensity1

    I go with choice number 2, nothing to do with road safety or science. See, that wasn’t so hard. Me like quizzes.

    Oh, wait . . . the title wasn’t aimed at us. It’s for the alphabet soup people (more like soup sandwich). I see now. Of course they won’t admit anything, because they’re a bunch of cotton-headed ninnymuggins (or insert your favorite crude deprecation) who are gonna be sad come X-mas morning.

    Sometimes I wonder if maybe it IS that hard for them–maybe we’re giving them too much credit. No, not jackbooted thugs, they ARE cotton-headed ninnymuggins. Someone tell Santa!

    Sigh.

    Could I at least have some gingerbread and cocoa with that kick in the face? Thanks, you’re so kind.

  • The simple process of evaluating impairment is what police work is all about. Before MADD and the driving laws incorporated the BAC (and it was shown to have a direct relationship to the amount of impairment in driving ability) it was only about an officers judgement. With use of BAC an officers judgement was no longer needed except to defend the officers action in making the stop in the first place. This scenario may work for alcohol but it does not work for pot. No set amount of BAC can determine impairment definitively with pot.

    Pot has never been the road hazard that alcohol is.

    The war on drugs is predicated upon the idea that marijuana users must be inconvenienced,stopped,harassed,and jailed as though they were fair game, Nixon ensured that it was so. The drug war was meant to give a bunch of dirty hippies protesting the war a fatal blow by taking away their drug of choice and putting the full force of the law behind it.

    It never was about driving and impairment. For some officers and the ONDCP, it still isn’t. And THAT is the real basis for zero tolerance laws. Not road safety. Harassment.

  • darkcycle

    The State Trooper who stopped me and subjected this MMJ patient to a roadside sobriety test also found no evidence of intoxication. (But he looked to be about twelve, and probably would not have been able to find a stoned person at a Pfish concert.)
    Oh, and that bit about eyes crossing looks to be deliberate disinformation. They are trained to look for “micro-movements”.

    • Nunavut Tripper

      ” Micro-movements ? ”
      I think you mean eyes adjusting and darting around,kind of scoping out the environment as opposed to a dull blank stare which might indicate some sort of impairment.

      Never heard that term before .

    • Windy

      dc, I must apologize, I missed wishing you a happy birthday on your birthday, so now I am making a belated birthday wish, hope it was a good day for you.

  • SenorGrapeAPe

    What a refreshing stance by an active member of law enforcement..I love the sorta veiled criticism of the system here in Colorado too. Arbitrarily setting a limit at 5 ng/mL (or anywhere really for that matter) is almost just as silly as making it any amount of metabolites.

    People are different everyone’s tolerances, both natural and learned, are different from one another. The polarization of things as one or the other, black and white, while comforting and easy, is just not the way most ANYTHING in the world works..

    Then again, I’ve never really fully understood the idea of having something made “foolproofed” for me as being a good thing either..So essentially you think I’m too dense to be able to learn and accomplish said task on my own then?

    Bleh, in any case, way to be Washington State Police!

  • DdC

    Radley Balko ‏@radleybalko
    Maricopa County prosecutor
    If you use medical marijuana, you can’t drive. Ever.

    StoptheDrugWar.org ‏@stopthedrugwar #drugwarchronicle
    This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories

    Or will you admit that the policies you’re promoting have nothing to do with road safety or science and are just a back door way to punish marijuana users?

    This is so far past obvious. Without closed door policy it would never have started. Just the fact it has continued this long seems obvious too. The drug worrier works for profits in a delusional fabrication of hobgoblins, demons and ridding the world of these no matter the cost. Or collateral damage of cannabis users. It is an insult to keep acting as if these worms will ever change coarse without intervention. It is impossible. It doesn’t matter who is selected in DC they can not kill their masters behind prohibition. The policy reformers are also getting paid. Knowing full well it all started from Nixon’s imagination and paranoia. Yet we debate fictional issues and cheer when they don’t just ignore us. On a lie. This is all about profits. On the prohibition or for the blinders crowd, coincidence their fossil fools, trees, chemical cotton, booze, meat, dairy and Big Pharma and Big Ag make a bundle. They OWN the ONDCP.

    Our taxes pay for slaves to international corporations. We know there is no logic to this war. We see and buy products cannabis sold, that could be grown in every community. Bypassing Wall St and DC. This is the war on drugs. To even think about compromises is mentally ill. Reefer Madness isn’t real and yet the 3 reformers argue with the slaves. Like arguing with a west burro baptist. They can’t enter reality and doesn’t it seem silly to keep the charade going? Anyone on this couch can win a debate against anyone in the ONDCP and their subsidiaries DEA and NIDA. To act as if we made points or wow he kicked his ass. Like taking candy from a baby and cheering. Oh what a battle. Millions of dollars in political correctness. Oh we can’t tell them the whole truth, not at once. It is a bi partisan demon liberals fear and environmentalist shun it, as they whine about the synthetic alternatives.

    Oh it would be devastating. What till next year. More incremental retardation. If we don’t remove cannabis as a controlled substance. It will continue in some form or another. Always renegade cops trying to be a hero fighting invisible demons. There is no doubt in any stretch of the imagination these tweaky little cowardly acts are to maintain prohibition. Like the Standard Oil monopoly was broken up into mini standard oils. As more cops write initiatives the states will have more laws to fill more private prisons. Big Biz will synthesize what they need or sativex or nasal sprays. Liquor control. As WA//CO hoopla. Nice diversion. Oh let the states avoid the lie and write policy to control poltergeists, just in case. Insane. No less.

    The states let politicians and heavy cop influence limit amounts, set specific conditions and add urine tests for drivers safety. Same as this new revised CA citizens initiative adding limits and conditions we don’t have as it is. To appease the prisons, with DPA smily faces alol over it. All made up, and only in a discussion because of a bold faced lie 43 years ago. Fiction on fiction breeding more fiction. I’m convinced the drug worriers have no knowledge of what shame or guilt is. They justify the draconian means by the end that never comes. It’s a product sold and the ONDCP should be removed as a tax paid entity into the Madison Ave advertising business it is. Fascism pays.

    Why Do YOU Think They Call it DOPE?
    Little hard maintaining a prohibition calling it the worlds most beneficial plant, don’t ya think?

    Why Would National NORML Board Member Discourage Patients From Speaking At A Public Hearing? #marijuana

    NJ Weedman ‏@NJweedman
    I fought the law and I won
    Payback for winning – Judge Reneggs
    The State wages a war on potheads; well, I was going to fight back. I wasn’t going to be a defendant I was going to fight this with an offense. I’d asked NORML Lawyers to help me, but they declined so I said, FUCK the pussies at NORML, (the coward’s in charge), the pansies. There is a “War” going on, and these dudes are writing letters. If it’s a war Burlington County wanted, well I was going to give it – not take it! My defense wasn’t a defense at all – it was an offense. I planned on winning this battle big-time publicly. Fuck the Law, Fuck the lawyers. Give me the Jury. I didn’t give a fuck. I was going to continue to smoke publicly anyway. I predicted the state will be regarded as the fool for having arrested me in the first place, when this case ended. I wanted to shove this up victory up the States Ass, as well as the leaders of NORML-NATIONAL’s ass.

  • Sorry for the OT. is everyone aware of this hearing?
    http://tinyurl.com/pe8qzpx

    U.S. Senate Judiciary Reviewing Federal Sentencing Reform Bills on Thursday