Police Chiefs in Massachusetts are worried. Now that Question 4 has passed, legalizing marijuana possession and growing for all adults 21 years of age and older, they are afraid that stoned drivers are going to clog the roadways, waiting for stop signs to turn green and bringing general death and destruction to MA’s highways and byways.
While it may be reasonable to assume there will be a slight uptick in drivers hitting the roads under the influence of cannabis, police are acting like “stoned driving” is something new that will spring out of legalization.
On the contrary, there are already high people on the road, and a lot of them. And while there is little evidence to suggest that “stoned driving” has become a problem in states like Washington and Colorado, police chiefs around Massachusetts are worried how they are going to handle the coming catastrophe.
“It’s extremely difficult for us,” Hanson, MA Police Chief Michael Miksch said. “There’s no simple test like with OUI-alcohol where we have a breathalyzer. . . . With marijuana there’s no breathalyzer.”
And testing someone’s blood for THC in no way shows whether they are impaired or not, or even if they used marijuana that day. Technological advances will bring new tools to law enforcement, allowing them to better pinpoint the last time someone ingested cannabis, but they still won’t be able to show impairment since everyone has a different tolerance when it comes to marijuana.
And while it’s true that driving drunk is much more dangerous than driving stoned, neither one is a good idea and if you don’t have to drive while you are high, you shouldn’t. But it must be realized that most cannabis users already drive under the influence and the roads are not littered with dead stoners. Just because something is not a good idea doesn’t mean that police in Massachusetts or any other state that legalizes have anything to worry about.