Pubdate: Wed, 07 Jun 2000
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Auburn Journal
Contact:  1030 High St., Auburn, CA 95603
Author: John Noble


Although cute and catchy, the smoke a joint, lose your license legislation
currently stalled in the California Legislature represents a clumsily
scattershot plan that would do little to either make the roads safer or to
attack serous drug abuse.

The measure, Assembly Bill 2295 sponsored by Assemblyman Dean Florez,
D-Shafter, requires a six-month driver's license suspension for anyone
convicted of a drug offense including possession of marijuana - even if the
offense is not remotely driving-related.

People could lose driving privileges if convicted for smoking pot in their
living room, lying on a picnic blanket in the park or any other place that
has nothing to do with traffic safety or automobiles.

After close examination of the measure, I see no consequences for real
driving-related hazards such as recklessness, red light running or driving
while intoxicated. And, of course, drive-by shootings, armed robbery, murder
and other far more serous public-safety offenses are neither a part of the
proposal or otherwise subject to similar driving restrictions.

Law enforcement officials might reasonably argue that any number of criminal
offenses, especially violent ones, show a greater disregard for public
safety and hence might portend a greater danger on the road. But logic seems
to be missing from this bill.

The law expired last June, and it should have been left at that. But this
absurd idea would not just fade away. 

The state could find many more relevant and effective ways to address drug
abuse and highway safety than this ill-conceived law. Legislators should
reject the Florez bill.

John Noble, Auburn
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