Pubdate: Thu, 17 Dec 2009
Source: North Island Gazette (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Black Press
Author: Russell Barth


Dear editor,

Regarding the letter, Pot impairs driver ability by Gaby Wickstrom:

Gaby Wickstrom misconstrued what I wrote. Marijuana can impair some
drivers, especially someone who is inexperienced with marijuana, and
that's why young people should be careful in this regard.

Recent studies show daily users experience less "impairment" than casual
users. Studies also show pot users drive slower and more cautiously than

Canadians smoke more pot per capita than any other country and we smoke
the most potent pot in the world. Our population has increased, the roads
are more crowded, but the accident rate continues to decline. This
suggests pot use actually makes roads safer.

My letter pointed out the difference between pot-caused impairment and
impairment from other factors. Drivers can be impaired by pharmaceuticals,
fatigue, music, rowdy passengers, pets, food, phone in hand, inexperience,
old age or stupidity. To target pot users - as these laws do - is
arbitrary and discriminatory.

This law will be abused by police, who will force people who look like
they might have smoked pot in the past to submit to saliva or blood
testing. Once the test is done, and cannabis metabolites appear, the
driver will be charged and have little defense.

Meanwhile, a person who is gooned on antihistamines or anti-depressants
will test negative, even though studies show they pose as much threat to
road safety as drunks. People who use meth and cocaine - which leaves the
body quicker, will also slip through. That's what makes these laws unfair.

To add insult to injury, police say this is about a variety of drugs, but
science and common sense show pot users are more likely to be caught up in
this dragnet.

Legal, licensed medical users like myself are unfairly disallowed from
driving by these laws, simply because we use cannabis. Meanwhile, others
drive around high on prescribed medications, and they will not be
profiled. This is discrimination on an epic scale and may be

When the Prime minister himself says we need to fight the culture of drug
use, paranoia is reasonable. Harper has declared a culture war, and will
use the police to fight it.

Finally, suggesting my legal, licensed, medically-prescribed pot use is
making me delusional demonstrates the superstitious misinformation and
myths pot users must fight every day.

Ms. Wickstrom should be more careful - as should the editors of this paper
- - lest they find themselves facing expensive lawsuits from med-pot users
with more wherewithal than I have to carry out these litigations.

Russell Barth

Federally Licensed Marijuana User
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