Orange County's very own Lou Correa, the state senator from Santa Ana, knows a good wedge issue when he sees it, or rather them: stoners.
Yes, stoners. Folks smoking marijuana, rather than drunk drivers, or teenagers texting, are the bane of our state's highway system. Why, studies have shown that people who are high on weed are disproportionately likely to cause potentially fatal traffic collissions. Actually, studies don't show that, but that hasn't stopped Correa from introducing legislation that would ban pot-smokers from driving around causing imaginary mayhem.
According to The Snitch
, the news blog of our sister paper, the SF Weekly
, Correa has introduced a proposed law, SB 289, which would make it a crime to drive with any detectible amount of any drug in your system
, with the exception of certain over-the-counter medications. Not surprisingly, the bill has won support from the California State Sheriffs' Association, California Police Chiefs Association, and California Narcotics Officers Association, all of which, The Snitch
reports, opposed legalization measure Proposition 19 in 2010).
What's particularly troubling is that because marijuana remains in your system long after you smoke it, theoretically, you can be arrested for driving while stoned a good week after you got stoned, so that unless you were smoking some pretty hefty chronic, you really aren't stoned anymore. Backers of the bill argue that only people who are driving erratically are going to be stopped by authorities, but groups such as CANORML, the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, argues otherwise.
Under SB289, the group states, "prosecutors could charge individuals, including state-qualified medical marijuana patients, with DUI cannabis solely based on the presence of trace levels of THC in their blood, regardless of whether further evidence of behavioral impairment is present."
Last year, CANORML successfully lobbied against the passage of similar legislation. Stay tuned, stoners.