Friday, November 10, 2006

DUI

I'm going to do something I don't do often - side with Stephen Harper, and also with those pseudo-prohibitionist lunatics in MADD. I completely support PM Harper's plan to clamp down on driving while impaired on drugs, for a few reasons.

First of all, people should not be driving while high; it's dangerous to themselves, but more importantly, to those around them. Any responsible drinker knows not to drive drunk, and a responsible drug user should not drive high. It's just common sense.

Second, as I have made it clear in the past, I wholeheartedly support the full legalization of marijuana. This law would eliminate one of the most common arguments against its legalization: that people would drive while high and endanger others. Now, it is clear that such an argument falls flat, as under this legislation such behaviour would be clearly illegal, and hopefully result in stiff penalties (given who we're dealing with here, I don't think that's in question).

Also, I support this legislation because it takes away from the stigmatization of marijuana, and logically concludes at its legalization. How? Well, let's examine this statement by Stephen Harper:

"Just as a drunk driver does, a drug-impaired driver presents a danger to himself and others."

The key phrase there is, "Just as a drunk driver does." That is to say, a drunk driver and a high driver are in the exact same boat - they're both in a state of mind that does not permit them to drive at the capacity necessary for a reasonable level of safety. That's why drunk driving is illegal, and that's why high driving should be illegal as well.

Thus, if drunk-driving and high driving are the same, this takes away some of the "mystique" surrounding pot, because it at least implies that alcohol and marijuana are similar, making the argument that one ought to be legal while the other is illegal all the more absurd.

In addition, this law acknowledges something that the chorus of anti-drug mantra-chanters usually refuse to admit - that you cannot stop people from smoking marijuana, that if someone wants it enough it is easy enough to get, and that the best course of action to take is not to try to prevent its use, but to encourage its users to be responsible, for both their decision to get high and for what they do while high - just like alcohol.

After all, having a law on the books making it illegal to be high while driving is a bit redundant if it's already illegal to be high at all. Logically, one of these laws is quite unnecessary. If we're going to have one, it only makes sense to get rid of the other.

10 Comments:

At 11/10/2006 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad the guy just cut the program that fights this:

For Immediate Release
November 10, 2006

Conservatives Show Hypocrisy with Drug-Driving Bill

OTTAWA -The minority Conservative government's new measures to combat drug-driving are hypocritical, given they recently cut over $4 million from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Elimination of Drug Impaired Driving Program's training budget, today charged Associate Liberal Justice Critic Brian Murphy.

"The Liberal Party obviously supports measures taken to prevent drug-driving," said Mr. Murphy. "But this Prime Minister needs to explain to Canadians why he made such significant cuts to the RCMP, scrapping a training program that helped officers detect drivers who are under the influence of narcotics."

The $4 million slice out of the RCMP's budget was part of a broader set of sweeping cuts announced to government programs on September 25, 2006 by the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Finance. These cuts were made despite a $13 billion budget surplus.

"The Prime Minister is clearly more interested in a photo-opportunity than in actually making Canadians safer. He cuts funding to the RCMP and then brings out the cameras so he can ask our national police force to do more with less," said Mr. Murphy.

"This kind of hypocrisy isn't the kind of help our police need - and it does nothing to protect Canadians."

 
At 11/10/2006 3:57 PM, Blogger canuckistanian said...

that was my first response to this as well...if its illegal to be high, then what good does making it illegal to be high while driving do. none. bad photo op. you really have to be stupid to be swayed by this gov't tawdry optics.

 
At 11/10/2006 4:57 PM, Blogger Kyle Carruthers said...

Where is it illegal to be high? Please point out the criminal code provision? Its illegal to posses marijuana, and being high means that one did possess marijuana at one time but it is not illegal to be high.

 
At 11/10/2006 5:22 PM, Blogger Clear Grit said...

Where is it illegal to be high? Please point out the criminal code provision? Its illegal to posses marijuana, and being high means that one did possess marijuana at one time but it is not illegal to be high.

Oh, a technicality. You know what I mean. If it's illegal to possess marijuana, obviously one has committed a crime if one is high.

 
At 11/10/2006 5:43 PM, Blogger Kyle Carruthers said...

Oh, a technicality. You know what I mean. If it's illegal to possess marijuana, obviously one has committed a crime if one is high.

Its not a "technicality". To the best of my knowledge a cop cant catch you red-eyed, stinking of chronic, buying munchies at 7-11; haul you down to the cop shop; take a fluid sample and charge you with possession. You actually have to still have the pot, and the residual THC in your bloodstream does not suffice.

These changes are in fact "changes" to the law. While I doubt that they will be successful -- there is no way of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that someone was driving while high -- they are not redundant.

Although I do agree with you that driving while high is a bad idea and should be illegal; and am as anxious as you to find a way of testing so we can rob opponents of legalization of their best (albeit logically flawed) argument.

 
At 11/10/2006 6:39 PM, Blogger Clear Grit said...

It's kind of the definition of a technicality, don't you think? It's technically not illegal to be high, but for all intents and purposes it may as well be.

 
At 11/10/2006 11:31 PM, Blogger Kyle Carruthers said...

It's kind of the definition of a technicality, don't you think? It's technically not illegal to be high, but for all intents and purposes it may as well be.

Actually for our purpose it is quite important. If you are in the car high but you dont actually have any weed with you (which I will assume is fairly common) the existing law is inadequate to deal with that situation

 
At 11/11/2006 8:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK only how are you going to test for high driving? There are no breath tests for it. Blood would let you know how much is in it for a level. The urine test would work too for levels. All other tests out there just say if you smoked in the last 30 days not if you have enough to be a hazard to others.

 
At 11/12/2006 11:01 PM, Blogger Clear Grit said...

Actually for our purpose it is quite important. If you are in the car high but you dont actually have any weed with you (which I will assume is fairly common) the existing law is inadequate to deal with that situation

Which is why I support it.

 
At 11/21/2006 10:02 PM, Blogger The Mound of Sound said...

You're right Ryan and Kyle is wrong. Being intoxicated behind the wheel is enough to be charged whether that's from dope, booze or medications. The operative word is "impaired". End of story. There's nothing in the CC that stipulates you must be impaired on Jim Beam.

 

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