There are roughly six million car accidents every single day here in the United States. That equates to an average of 90 traffic fatalities every day in this country, and that number climbs progressively higher as our population grows and more drivers take to our roads.
For me, personally, I cannot wait for the day when self-driving cars are just the norm and accidents are all but eliminated and I can dab all the way to my destination, but we are not quite there yet. If you told me about self-driving cars 20 years ago, I’d smile and nod and feel sorry for you, but then again if you told me two decades ago that a state like Michigan would allow for legal weed someday, I wouldn’t have believed that either… but here we are.
Over the course of the past 5-10 years, we’ve seen nearly all of the Reefer Madness inspired criticisms about cannabis go up in smoke as the majority of Americans have come to realize that not only is this plant harmless, but it can be incredibly beneficial in a myriad of ways.
One of the final anti-cannabis arguments that just will not die, however, is the notion that cannabis consumers are dangerous drivers. Even normally progressive Democratic lawmakers cite our current inability to accurately determine “intoxication levels” of THC in a person’s system as reason enough to balk at broader reform measures.
Vulture capitalist companies have swooped in on this opportunity to peddle their plans to create the ultimate roadside cannabis test kit, and all have failed. As almost any cannabis user can tell you, one single puff of pot can stay in your system for a month or more, but wouldn’t impair your driving whatsoever.
Cannabis consumers have come under closer scrutiny in recent years once we’re trapped in the line of a well-hidden roadside sobriety checkpoint. These checkpoints/ambushes are quite possibly the most un-American thing I have ever dealt with in my own life, and lawmakers and piss-sniffers everywhere want to make them even more intrusive for people who enjoy cannabis.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN UNSWABBED
Laws regarding suspected intoxicated drivers vary pretty wildly across the country. Hell, half the country calls it a DUI and the other half a DWI, we can’t even agree on that. So it is very important that you know exactly what your local laws are if you are a cannabis consumer who drives. It is also important to remember that these laws are changing constantly as cannabis reform takes root, but it could be a bumpy ride for weed-loving motorists for a few years.
Case in point is in Michigan, the latest state to take a stab… or a swab… at combatting a non-existent problem of dangerously stoned drivers now that the state has legalized the recreational use of cannabis for adults.
Yesterday in dozens of jurisdictions across the state, a pilot program was launched by law enforcement in which drivers suspected of being under the influence of drugs (besides alcohol) will be subjected to interrogation by a DRE, or Drug Recognition Expert. The DRE will demand an oral swab sample from the driver which will be run through a roadside drug test to determine the fate of the driver.
The state says that the test will pick up traces of not only cannabis (specifically THC), but also amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cocaine, methamphetamines, and opiates as well. Several of those drugs listed, including cannabis, can be legally prescribed and/or possessed.
This cuts to the heart of the issue when it comes to sobriety testing for motorists. We already have laws for dangerous drivers. If a cop sees a car swerving and pulls them over to discover they are high on anything, then it’s an open and shut case. But when they ambush EVERY driver at a hidden checkpoint they are sure to find drivers with traces of legal substances in their system who might be (and probably are) driving just fine. In other words, you can get arrested even if you aren’t intoxicated.
Michigan attorney Neil Rockind sees the move as an invasion of privacy for the vast majority of motorists that will be caught in the trap. He was recently quoted saying, “It really tests for things that are prescribed, so it really allows the police to do more than just act on reasonable suspicion or probable cause. The police can act on guesswork.”
His legal advice for Michigan motorists?
And he’s not alone.
Another Michigan-based lawyer by the name of Bruce Block spells out just how ridiculous the entire idea is, especially the Drug Recognition “Expert” part: “You have someone who is a so-called ‘expert’ who has 72 hours essentially of classroom and about three or four days of testing their theories,” Block explains. “Now whether you’re impaired or not, why, I suppose that’s up to this so-called expert. The problem is he’s not an expert — in his mind, everybody’s impaired. He’s certified by the International Association of the Chiefs of Police. You know… who?”
Block makes his stance clear, adding, “I have advised client after client after client, including my friends and relatives and my wife, don’t take it.”
Again, the consequences for refusing a roadside drug test will differ almost everywhere you look, but in Michigan it will earn you a civil infraction which means a ticket and a $200 fine with no points on your driving record.
Sounds too easy, right?
Technically, the refusal of a roadside sobriety test could be grounds for an arrest if the police suspect foul play but a civil infraction in Michigan is not an arrestable offense. This entire oral swab nonsense RELIES ON YOUR CONSENT. They don’t want to build cases and go to court, ain’t no pigs got time for that. They want X percentage of paranoid pothead drivers to submit to a test that is flawed by design, a test that has never worked which is fine because it is not needed.
So, Michigan drivers, remember that we are not your lawyers but ol’ Block or Rockind seem ready to fight for your rights so you should too.