The Business News Source for the Community of Sarnia - Lambton
www.automaxsarnia.com - sales, service, rentals

Column

Brian Keelan's picture

It’s all goin’ to pot!

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 13:40 -- Brian Keelan

That’s the title of a Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard song on YouTube. There’s old Willie and Merle,  way more than one toke over the line, more than “half baked,” or as we used to say, “stoned to the bone.” They are having a riot singing this song about how nobody’s drinking anymore because everybody’s smoking pot instead. In between choruses there they are lighting up and smoking away.

Funny to watch?

Very.

Illegal?

Unless they were doing it in Colorado or Washington… yes.

But soon – according to everything I am reading – no. Even here in Canada.

Back in 1963 when I went away to university, our music was old time Rock’n Roll. Ray Charles, “What’d I say?” was number one. Draft beer was 15 cents a glass at the Ceeps but you couldn’t get in unless you were 21. Pot was something that Beatniks in New York and Europe smoked.

After a less than stellar first year, I left university for three years and when I returned in 1967 the world had changed. Beatlemania had progressed from, “She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah,” to “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” The summer of love was in full swing out in San Francisco, everybody had flowers in their hair and pot was giving draft beer a real run for the money.

The big scandal on campus came when a student got caught with one joint by the student police; the most hated people at Western. The student was not only expelled from Western, the student body was told there was not a university on the planet that would accept him and he’d never get a good job in the regular world. He was screwed.

I don’t know what happened to the guy who got busted, but what he did was certainly no crime worthy of the fate promised by the UWO administrators. We knew they were doing it to try and keep the rest of us from trying it.

Didn’t work.

Now they don’t give a rat’s ass about any of that stuff.

Justin Trudeau’s father gave us deficit financing and Justin will try to give us a really green economy on more than one front… except for the bottom line which will of course be red, but so far nobody up there can accurately predict just how red it will be.

That’s in honour of his dad I guess.

I don’t really have a problem with legalizing pot since the efforts to ban it have been woefully ineffective. But rather than making it legal, I would rather see it just decriminalized. I am not happy with the way government treats an illegal action after they legalize it for recreational purposes. Tobacco, booze and gambling are good examples. Now, after throwing their citizens in jail for years for using pot, they want to legalize it so they can promote the usage of it and then tax it. But I don’t think they’ve thought it all the way through.

The big issue I have with legalizing pot (besides the government promoting it’s use just like they do booze and gambling) is that they have no way of controlling people getting stoned and then driving cars, riding bikes or motor cycles, driving boats and flying airplanes. The name for it is: drugged driving.

It’s one thing to have a test where you pee in a bottle at work and it can be determined whether or not you have smoked any dope in the past month or so. But, there is no way I know of to determine whether or not you are under the influence of the drug at any particular time without being involved in a lengthy blood sample test which needs to be done in a hospital. That’s a problem for me, a potential nightmare for the legal system and a whole new business opportunity for lawyers: getting someone–who was stoned–off after killing or maiming someone in an accident by taking advantage of the fact that there is no way it can be legally proved that the accused was actually stoned at the time.

The Partnership for A Drug-Free Canada states that, “a significant proportion of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drug use and levels were close to those of alcohol across Canada.”

It’s interesting to note that drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 years old account for most driver fatality cases. They also happen to be the group that contains the largest portion of drinking driver fatalities (27.6%) and drug-positive related fatalities (26.9%).

Marijuana use among drivers in B.C. is “particularly high,” according to a 2011 study published in the B.C. medical journal. The study reports, “There is clear evidence that cannabis–like alcohol–impairs the psychomotor skills required for safe driving.” In cases where blood and urine samples are taken and traces of cannabis are found, there’s no way to determine when the drug was actually consumed. Marijuana residue can remain in a person’s system for days, even weeks.

As a result, drug impairment is notoriously difficult to prosecute. A provincial court judge in Ontario said recently, “There is an evidentiary problem with drug cases. There is no standard and no norm as there is with blood-alcohol levels.”

B.C.’s Superintendent of Motor Vehicles adds, “There is currently no instrument-based roadside test for drug impairment.”

Before they legalize pot there needs to be an answer to the question: at what point is the pot smoker too impaired to drive? There is no standard and no norm as there is with blood alcohol levels. There is no hand-held device, no pot-detecting breathalyzer that police can use to measure the amount a suspect has consumed. How is sobriety even determined? There is no standard blood cannabis limit in Canada.

It is my opinion that it would be very foolish of the federal government to legalize marijuana - which means that they will become partners with the pushers- and then have no rock-solid- we-can-easily-prove-it way of being able to verify that the driver–or the pilot–or the operator of any moving vehicle–was actually under the influence of marijuana or any other drug while they were actually operating that vehicle in a public place. All they can prove now is that sometime in the last month they did. Imagine if booze worked that way. “Yeah, I got drunk two weeks ago but I was sober when I had the accident.”

If you can’t get busted for doing it in a way that will stand up in a court of law, I think the government is making a big mistake by proceeding with legalizing–and marketing–marijuana.

Whatever you want to do in the privacy of your own home, you are free to do as long as nobody gets hurt. But when you are driving on the 401 and your ability to safely operate your vehicle at 120 kilometers an hour is less than perfect, then you should not be out there- especially if you have friends and relatives of mine in your car.

One way they could do this is to have every driver under the age of 30 pee in a bottle–or whatever it is they do these days–and be 100% clean or they don’t get insurance and when they finally do they pay a very stiff premium to get their insurance back.

All they need to do is make sure they stay clean. You get someone who wants the privilege of a driver’s license–or the freedom to operate any other device that moves–and has to pay for it with their own money, then very hopefully, they will think twice before they put that privilege in jeopardy. One strike and you’re out… forever.

People need to value their privileges. That guy in Toronto that got drunk and killed a woman’s three kids along with her father with his car will not deter anyone from doing what he did. He got less than Karla Homolka and we all know how everybody feels about that.

My big concern is that the government is rushing into this issue without making really sure that they can control it. All we have now is them saying, “Well we can’t do it now but by the time we legalize it, all that will be taken care of.”

Yeah… sure.

Eventually the government will legalize pot. I am just hope they don’t do it until the legalizers have proven conclusively to all of us that they can totally manage the problems that come with giving people drugs and then letting them play with planes, trains and automobiles.

That’s just my opinion and I could be wrong, but like… I don’t think so… man.

Fine Print