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Old 05-01-2018, 04:08 PM   #1
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Weed impairment... is it a legitimate concern?

I have no practical knowledge nor agenda here, just genuinely curious...

Since California legalized weed, there is a push to develop a blood-alcohol equivalent for weed so that we have a easily understood definition of impaired. I wonder though... are we trying to define "weed-impaired" because of the legal ambiguity, or because it's a genuine public safety problem? Do you all cite/arrest people for driving stoned? Is it as common as DUI-alcohol? Is it as dangerous?

Question is inspired by articles like this one. Thanks.
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Old 05-01-2018, 05:05 PM   #2
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I don't think weed impairment is a legitimate concern in the case of most pot smokers. But it is a concern in the case of some. And since we legislate to the lowest common denominator, laws are necessary.
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Old 05-01-2018, 05:11 PM   #3
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It will be interesting to see what develops. I doubt it’ll be something as simple as BAC, determined by breath or blood readings. Trace elements can be detected weeks after ingesting it, so they’ll need a test that looks for current use.

Pot doesn’t seem to impact motor movement, balance etc as alcohol does so the usual roadside physical tests may not reflect a person’s level of cannabis in their system.

Best to do one’s drinking or smoking after your driving/riding is done.
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Old 05-01-2018, 05:14 PM   #4
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I wonder how a ganja impaired driver would fare in a standard field sobriety (tough finger to nose, walk the line) test.
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Old 05-01-2018, 05:30 PM   #5
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I can tell you the DOT is concerned and are working on it.

From personal experience it is way less invasive than alcohol but from a legal standpoint impacted is impaired.
However I have seen some dumb moves by stoned drivers and for pot rookies the high grade shit these days could be an issue.

Right now someone administering an impairment test is all that can be done legally.
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Old 05-01-2018, 09:56 PM   #6
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I've made MJ DUI arrests. I think they are becoming more frequent in the last few years in my department. I've definitely seen impairment in driving indicators of impairment as well as impairment in field sobriety tests from some with marijuana.

It's not as common as alcohol DUI. It's not as clear cut and there is no minimum standard of presumed impairment, like there is with alcohol. But that's the same with every other drug. I've also made DUI arrests for meth, heroin, and pills. Certain pills can impair a lot. Heroin can impair a lot. Marijuana can impair more than meth, IMO and from what I've observed.
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Old 05-02-2018, 05:23 AM   #7
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Years ago Car and Driver magazine did some tests both of alcohol impairment and marijuana impairment. For the alcohol, it was obvious that those who were impaired couldn't control the vehicle well enough and they came to the conclusion that 0.08 was probably still too lenient.

With marijuana they found that the test subjects could still control the cars pretty well, but they didn't care if they ran over people or whatever. In other words judgement was affected more than control skills.
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Old 05-02-2018, 05:40 AM   #8
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You can always tell the weed impaired riders. They are the ones laying on the side of the road eating a bag of Doritos.

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Old 05-02-2018, 06:25 AM   #9
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They have test strips for yo mouf, that detect the presence of THC. Since THC stays in the saliva for about 3 to 4 hours (almost the exact same time span as being 'high'), it's a solid indicator similar to a BAC test.
that being said, Motorcyclist just did a weed riding test...

Getting stoned and riding for science

Back to getting stoned and going riding: Lacking the resources to do a complex examination of the subject, we put together a small experiment. We went to the 0.625-mile kart track at Willow Springs Raceway, outside Los Angeles, with a well-used 3 hp, 50cc Honda CRF 50 and one douchey-looking vape pen. Contributing editor Zach Bowman and I smoked our weight in two different types of marijuana concentrates, for almost five hours. Every 30 minutes, we each did two laps around the track from a dead stop.
It was hilarious. Then it was even better, and I was laughing at my own knees. I felt like a god. At the top of third gear, the wind found its way into my shirt and sang fun little songs at my nipples, but it didn’t take long for the riding to feel like work. After our second dose, Bowman’s time slid to 2:54.85, and mine stumbled to 2:48.59. Bowman also managed to completely fail the left/right maneuver, locking up the rear tire and shooting through on the wrong side of our flagger with a wide-eyed wail. “I’m target fixating,” he said. “It’s like my eyes don’t want to let go of whatever they’re stuck on. Cones, flags, apexes. Whatever.”


Fuck around and find out.
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by budman View Post
and for pot rookies the high grade shit these days could be an issue.
Can confirm.

Edit; will say though, didn't feel like I'd be able to ride a motorcycle and really had no desire to. Unlike after a few mixed drinks, I felt very impaired.

Last edited by j5m; 05-02-2018 at 07:13 AM..
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:48 AM   #11
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It's a legitimate concern for road safety.
  • In January, a motorcyclist was killed in San Jose by a driver who was arrested for DUI because "the car smelled heavily of marijuana".

  • Last year in Santa Barbara, a driver pulled out from the curb into a motorcyclist's path, killing him, and was found to be under the influence of marijuana and charged with DUI manslaughter.

  • In Pomona last year, a motorcop responding to a fatal crash was hit and injured by a driver found to be under the influence of marijuana.

  • In December 2016, a driver under the influence of marijuana traveling southbound on northbound I-5 near the Mexican border killed an oncoming motorcyclist.

  • In one of the more outrageous incidents in my archive, in 2007 a heavily baked 20-year-old driver lost control of his pickup on 101 in Ventura County. He crippled a CHP motor officer and hit the SUV the officer had pulled over, setting it on fire and killing its driver. The pickup driver, who may still be serving his 15-year sentence, was transporting a pound-and-a-half of "medical" marijuana. Apparently, neither his "doctor" nor state-licensed drug dealer was prosecuted.
A law specifying a quantitative standard is necessary so impaired drivers don't get away with murder. In 2006, a Napa County driver high on marijuana and prescription drugs killed a motorcyclist on Silverado Trail. The driver got a sweet misdemeanor deal, which doesn't happen with alcohol and an objective standard of impairment.

Such a law would also benefit drivers wrongly accused of impairment by making the state definitively prove the charge.
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Last edited by DataDan; 05-02-2018 at 10:49 AM..
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Old 05-02-2018, 06:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ScottRNelson View Post
In other words judgement was affected more than control skills.
This, and perception/reaction times are significantly affected.
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:11 PM   #13
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If there was an easy way to stuff girl scout cookies into your mouth while riding, then that's when it's an epidemic
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:05 PM   #14
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Interesting. Thanks for the responses everyone!
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Old 05-05-2018, 06:17 PM   #15

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if it was safe then it never would have been labled a drug.
but lets not forget there are those out there that are sentave to this s--tuff. aka: coughing, tight lungs, cant breath, things like that.
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