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February 09, 2015

Comments

Brian, your comment may be correct as far as it goes but, c'mon man, you are rationalizing the fact that stoned drivers are stoned drivers!! They aren't not stoned when they are stoned, and stoned drivers make mistakes. They space out, get distracted and muscles don't respond the same way to neuro input as they do normally.

So, there have been and will be accidents caused by stoned drivers. How can this be denied?

This doesn't mean I want marijuana laws to go back to times gone by. I don't want college kids thrown in jail for 20 years for possession of a sticky nug. I do not think "Reefer Madness" is an accurate depiction of the marijuana experience. But marijuana is an intoxicant that will cause problems for some people. It is not benign in every case. It does fuck people up.

I spent the first half of my life surfing (board surfing). I didn't care much about anything else. So, naturally during my weed years I surfed under the influence often. It definitely affected my motor skills, depth perception and other faculties. I did not surf as well in terms skill when on weed but, sure, I still had fun. What I found though, was that surfing was even more fun when I wasn't stoned. The immersion in such a great activity overwhelmed and pushed the weed high into the background except for the compromised motor skills.

Many surfers surf well on weed, but many of my compadres agreed with me that their co-ordination was better without it.

Do you want your pilot fully loaded when landing during a thunderstorm and severe turbulence? Same with driving. Do you want people on the road, like inexperienced teen drivers, coming at you in black ice conditions when fully loaded?

Alcohol, Rx drugs, weed, cell phones all impair driving. We just have to live with it, not be in denial of the reality of what this means.

My driver's license was suspended for DUI in 1979 - way back when a first offense was merely a 90-day license suspension and a $200 fine. I had already held my license for 13 years and considered myself exceptionally skilled as a defensive driver. I was also a stoner who smoked weed frequently and never went anywhere without stopping at the liquor store for a six-pack to occupy the middle of the bench seat in my 1975 Plymouth Duster.

To make a long story short: the State Police had a classroom full of unlucky miscreants (my self included) watch a movie about 3 big, burly gentlemen who swore that they were essentially unaffected by alcohol in reasonable amounts. They were to drive a road course marked by orange pylons, taking enough runs at it to learn it perfectly.

Then, they were to take one drink and drive the course. All three men completed the course without knocking over any pylons. Two drinks - one of the men knocked over a pylon and accused the State Police of moving the pylon. The other two laughed.

Three drinks - all three of the men knocked over multiple pylons. They all swore that they felt no different after three drinks than at the beginning. Not even a slight buzz.

The point made was that alcohol has physical effects in even slight amounts that inhibit nerve impulses involving muscular contraction, and these effects have nothing whatsoever to do with conscious awareness. Your conscious decision to step on the brake pedal or turn the steering wheel may or may not have changed at all, but your muscle's ability to contract is measurably slowed down.

It is trivially easy to correlate blood alcohol content with law enforcement parameters concerning impairment. Alcohol affects all nervous systems exactly the same way.

THC is a horse of a different color.
It can linger in fat cells for long (days, weeks) period of time and chronic users can have a constant THC level in their bloodstream that might indicate chronic impairment when in fact it doesn't.

So, Willie R., is your point that THC may impair driving ability when the user thinks their ability to drive is not impaired?

Or, are you saying, as your last paragraph might indicate, that chronic THC users may not be impaired?

I think you were saying that a chronic user may quit for a few weeks and still have THC metabolites in their blood, but that the presence of which does not mean the person is impaired. I tend to agree with that.

It presents a difficult dilemma for law enforcement to determine, via blood tests, if a person is actually under the influence of THC that may impair their driving.

I know from firsthand experience that some drivers under the influence of weed do not drive as well as when they are straight. There is no doubt in my mind. I can't see how any reasonable person would not acknowledge this would be the case at least with some users.

One of the medicinal uses of marijuana is as a muscle relaxer for pain and spasms. I have used it as recently as a few months ago for this purpose as I have lower back issues from many horse riding wrecks. I think some of my horses ate some loco weed ;) However, as with valium, soma and other muscle relaxers there is some loss of neuro-muscular response under the influence of weed that is somewhat unpredictable. In my case, I should not drive when fully loaded as I become a little "Gumby" like. It is best that I remain at home fully "couch locked" staring at some inane TV show.

I have found non-psychoactive CBD compounds applied topically to be more effective than imbibing the herb. So, I think my use of actual marijuana is going by the wayside which is fine with me. I used it infrequently anyway as the psycho-physical effects are not very useful or enjoyable at this point in life.

Well, tucson - I have not smoked any weed in the past 35 years, and I no longer remember if I considered myself unfit to drive when I actually did drive back then. I do know, however, that there were occasions when I found myself driving and could not remember where I was going or for what purpose.
It is beyond question that smoking weed has physiological effects beyond blood vessel dilation in the eyes and appetite stimulation, but the specifics of how THC affects the central nervous system needs more study.

I did not really have a point to make in my above comment - just some anecdotal food for thought. I'm sure I will be long dead before marijuana is legalized in New Jersey, so I have no dog in this hunt. Injustice will prevail until all the knowable facts are in.

Willie R. said, " I do know, however, that there were occasions when I found myself driving and could not remember where I was going or for what purpose."

--I had the experience of sitting in a chair and being unsure of whether I had actually driven to the supermarket or had imagined it. No one else in the room was able to tell me either.

Another time I was driving alone stopped at an intersection I had frequented many times. I was completely disoriented and had no clue which way to go to get where I was going. At least I knew where I wanted to get to which ultimately led to success.

On another occasion I spent a long time in a car trying to get my key in the ignition to start it before realizing that it was not my car. Admittedly, on this occasion, my blood was enriched with wine in addition to marijuana.

Recently, a woman known by a friend consumed a THC gummy bear. At one point this woman was convinced she was dead, but she wasn't.

OK, some of are lightweights when it comes to susceptibility to the psychoactive effects of THC. But that is my point.

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