Pubdate: Wed, 30 Jun 1999
Date: 06/30/1999
Source: Roanoke Times (VA)
Author: Michael Krawitz

DRIVING while impaired is a risk no one should take, and losing a
friend or loved one (in a car wreck) is something no one should have
to face (June 12 article "Man faces 2 years, 11 months for crash that
took friend's life").

I am president of the ( Tech Chapter,
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. NORML does not
condone driving while impaired or the use of impairing substances
(without a doctor's order) by children. Our document ("Principles of
responsible marijuana use") details how to use marijuana responsibly,
a topic often overlooked in school drug-prevention classes.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is working hard to add alcohol warnings
to the federal government's billion-dollar anti-drug advertising
budget, over strong opposition from the drug czar's office. I applaud
MADD for its efforts.

It's high time this country began to assess drugs not by their name
but by their effects. Whether the substance that causes impairment is
called Sudafed, marijuana or alcohol, this should have no bearing on
the punishment for knowingly driving while impaired. What should be
punished is the level of impairment, not the name of the drug.