Pubdate: Thu, 16 Nov 2006
Source: NOW Magazine (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 NOW Communications Inc.
Author: Russell Barth


Re Drugged Driving Laws. How can the government justify this new 
affront to our civil rights and liberties? There are no numbers to 
show that there has been an increase in drugged driving incidents, as 
no official study has ever been done. Remember, this is the same 
government that wants to crack down on a crime rate that has been 
steadily dropping.

Imagine this scenario: Someone is driving around stoned on 
tranquilizers, painkillers, cold medications or some combination 
thereof. The driver gets pulled over and appears - to the police 
officer - to be visibly "impaired." The driver blows zero for 
alcohol, and his urine and blood samples test negative for illegal 
drugs. That driver is free to go and repeat the offence.

But if the driver tests positive for even trace amounts of marijuana, 
which may show up in the body for up to three months after the last 
puff, or because of second-hand smoke, he or she will be booked for 
"impaired driving." This is the same as busting someone for drunk 
driving three days after their last drink.

Clearly, this new "drugged driving" legislation is designed 
specifically to profile marijuana users - especially people under the 
age of 30 and people of colour. How medical marijuana users will fare 
under this new program is yet to be seen.

The new law will likely ignore the dangers of impairment factors such 
as coffee, cigarette or cellphone in hand, rowdy pets and passengers, 
booming stereos, blood-sugar imbalances, fatigue, inexperience, bad 
driving habits, old age and plain old stupidity.

To focus on any one thing is arbitrary and discriminatory - and that 
is exactly what this new law will do.It won't matter if you are 
tripling your dose of a prescription medication, but if marijuana 
shows up in your blood, you will be considered guilty until proven 
innocent. So much for Canada being a "just society."

Russell Barth

Federal medical marijuana licence holder

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