Ask NORML: Drugged Driving and Impairment Tests

A new installment of ‘Ask NORML’ is now streaming on NORMLtv. This week’s topic, decided by our online audience, is drugged driving. In this episode, Executive Director Allen St. Pierre addresses concerns surrounding “stoned drivers” and the efficacy of current roadside testing.

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45 thoughts

  1. i just wanted to tell you guys that what you guys are doing is what needs to be done. I would do anything to help the cause that i so believe in. everything you guys come up with is very logical. So thank you for helping better the world

  2. Coming from a person who has drived, extremely stoned and just a little high..the level of high will effect your driving abilities. No crashing or anything, but when I was extremely stoned, I got lost and could not keep my speed constand. Being a little high I turned into an even better driver, it was smooth sailing! Hope this helps.

  3. So practical and true. If only marijuana is legal and out of the “Controlled Substance of 1970”.

  4. Long time cannabis users are no different than long time narcotic pill users. We have built up tolerances and can be as good a driver as anyone who uses medication long term. “Drugged Driving” is just a sexy term to catch the uninformed public’s attention and scare them into thinking more laws would cure a non- problem.

  5. I would like to see a roadside impairment test for use of a cell phone in the previous 15 minutes.
    I don’t think I have ever driven a car or semi truck when not stoned. Maybe a handful of short, close to home trips in the last 40 years when i wasn’t stoned..

  6. Don’t forget the 80 to 90 year-old drivers out there, who will be pulled over because they exhibit the same signs as if they were driving stoned. LOL!

  7. The basic premise that the Federal government operates on regarding DUID cannabis “intoxication” is that any amount detectable in the driver’s bloodstream at 5 nanograms per milliliter or more incapacitates the driver. This is false. Cannabis users can just as easily acclimate to their level of cannabis intoxication as any user of Big Pharma prescription medications which have black label warnings against “operating heavy machinery”.
    But drivers with prescription medications in their bloodstream are given a “free-pass” regarding DUID, while consumers of cannabis are not. The Private (for-profit) Prison Industrial Complex’s insatiable demand for DUID testing regimes for cannabis has driven the availability and price of illicit drug test kits. The very same Industrial Complex dare not impede the profitability of Big Pharma’s prescription medications, so road-side tests for prescription drugs are not readily available.
    For there to be equality and equity in the treatment of drivers suspected of DUID the only standard that should be applied is that of actual incapacitation, readily determined by existing LEO SOP training for degree of loss of balance and coordination. Any other testing regimes are blatantly unfair and discriminatory, designed to maximize the profits of the Private (for profit) Prison Industrial Complex rather than keeping the USA roadways safe.

  8. It is time for Obama to step down, and Lady Hillary also, it is time, for the fattest senators to be voted out, the Controlled substance act should be annulled, if an individual senator or legislature refuses, it is time to reform the justice system.
    Free Cannabis

  9. # 11: DITTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I started smoking cannabis when I was 14. Got my licence when I was 17. Did bong hits in the morning, road test in the afternoon. There ya go!!!!

  10. Marijuana Prohibition is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
    I’m ready for April 20th @ 4:20, March the NATION!!!
    How about you?!?!?!?!?!?!?
    The government needs to stop denying our constitutional rights NOW!
    Let’s put an end to Marijuana Prohibition!

  11. Goofy drivers usually get pulled over for alcohol reasons. When officers find cannabis – they always make a big deal over the cannabis. Don’t drink and drive. It’s never been a good reason to mix the two.

  12. “Legal in future”? Wishful thinking. You’ve been pulled over for a “tail light”. We need to just do a quick test to make sure you’re not under the influence. Give me your blood and urine. Excuse me? You comply then get the results back and you’re not inhibited what do you get? A ticket for the phantom “tail light”. Along with a tab for the testing. That’s rich. Let’s say that it comes back positive. You know what happens then. Jailed, Judged and Jacked. Not rich. I’ll tell you what I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. If you’re not willing to then neither am I.

  13. and I did almost my whole driver’s ed stoned. Almost 40 years later and I’m still going strong.
    #10 you couldn’t be more wrong. And I’m irked at your perpetuating of the fallacy of lumping marijuana in with “drugs.” It’s an herb, man. But seriously, cannabis is biologically different which is what makes it infinitely safer individually and collectively.
    Pot smokers are NOT the same as narcotics users. 1) we don’t face the same tolerance/withrawal symptoms, 2) we can’t die from an overdose, and 3) it does not cause the same involuntary uncontrollable drowsiness or loss of coordination, or decrease in funcitoning IN ANY WAY as do narcotics. Narcotics are a central nervous system suppressant. Enough can make you lose consciousness and stop your breathing. Can’t be said of pot.
    I can show you at least 5 different studies that show that long term pot smokers do not suffer any noticeable loss of function when under the influence.

  14. Where do you stand, on which side are you certain, as an American tax payer, my burden is an affliction, Cannabis opens the doors, unlocks your mind to your soul, are you frightened, it has been written that fear of GOD is understandable, Life’s Journeys require you to make choices, I raise my hand in Prayer.

  15. At first I was firmly against it, but driving stoned is easy as hell. Tons of people do it every day and you will never notice because they are simply not impaired. I know norml’s stance on this, but I don’t have to put up the same act they do: I know it’s completely safe so long as you don’t get baked, pay attention, and don’t combine it with distractions or alcohol.

  16. 31. Fireweed
    There is no loss of cognition either – in cognitive studies. Short term memory may be effected – but – that is the intent – to forget the shit of the day for a couple of hours. It’s called relaxation. One could spend an hour in meditation with God for genuine experience – it’s called CDXX Communion.

  17. 1. When I drove a recycling truck after tokes it was always in low-speed industrial regions.
    2. Being realistic: there is a danger in driving the FIRST HOUR after a toke in that your phytoenergized L E A P = Long-term Episodic Associative Memory will keep firing “pop-up” memories to you out of the Dynamic Unconscious, and the effort to meet the challenge of Associating and Properformancing all this excellent material can Distract you from driving (much like a cell phone that keeps ringing.) Or some word you see on a signboard will transfreudianize with a keyword that hooks on a Buried Memory and fish it out abruptly at a time (while driving) when you have no attention to spare to do justice to it.
    3. So wait out that First Hour, with an Emergency Pen(cil) on hand to catch the most important dadadata, after which your driving will probably be above average (though hopefully slower than average, seek out an errand like #1 above).

  18. 34 Chris
    36 maxwood
    Driving 55mph in a 65mph speed limit is a cops delight. Just make sure you’re in the right lane, and have no alcohol in your blood. Don’t get caught for being a safe driver. A long drive to Las Vegas with pot fuel in your tank {system] is really comfortable.
    Happy motoring – drive safely – see ya in Vegas.

  19. driving under the influence is like saying true but not
    drunk an i think thats where some dont get confused its
    stay put until you come down sleep, an dont get caught
    behind the wheel an when i use the first part under the
    influence you can be walking an they can check you two
    different points,an yes some do get told or fined.

  20. The absence of evidence is evidence. Were there a significant and real danger we would see the newspapers filled with reports of marijuana fueled driving outrages such as we see literally DAILY in our local communities.

  21. What is a realistic cost of coming up with one of these impairment tests? I know the government would pay likely millions… but what about NORML taking donations and paying for it? It would really help legitimacy to have proven studies that show what impairments do, and have it ready should some municipality wish to adopt it…

  22. I truly applaud what NORML is doing. I used to smoke awhile ago, and I truly miss it on a daily basis. I can’t smoke because I have a job that drug tests, and I NEED this job. However, I am around it a lot still, as my friends still smoke, and I have even had vivid dreams about using it. The facts stack too high (no pun intended) – marijuana SHOULD be legal. I’m sick of having to go to alcohol when I want to relieve some stress – it’s fattening, there’s hangovers, and, in many people, it induces aggression. I just cannot wait for the day where marijuana is legalized and I can finally use a natural, non-synthetic plant in it’s full capacity. It’s just so sad that American is so scared of change that I’ll probably be a senior citizen by then, and I am at the mere age of 22 as of right now.

  23. i am being charged for impairment b/c i smelled like pot and tested positive even though i hadnt smoked in 2 days. I said no to plea bargain and have jury trial. and hope the jury finds me not guilty. or should i take the plea? I had to move from north carolina to michigan b/c of this. i also had to quit my job, and quit my massage therapy school that I was accepted to. total bs. and b/c im poor i cant defend myself.

  24. First: I use marijuana, generally in the evening when I am home for the night, and usually near bedtime, and occasionally socially.
    That said:
    I am a competition trained driver, my reaction time and appropriateness of response in simulations tested. Both are excellent.
    I’ve been a passenger in a vehicle driven by someone who is high twice. Both times terrified me. In one, he merged unthinkingly and the other traffic stream had to swerve violently to avoid collision. In the other, he turned right on red, legally after stopping — while looking left and failing to notice the pedestrian stepping off the right-hand curb to cross, with the Walk sign, and knocked her back.
    Marijuana plays havoc with:
    Situational awareness – appreciating the multiple factors contributing to the individual’s current circumstances, such as there being a playground behind the parked cars on the right as well as traffic that would not allow swerving to the left.
    Alertness — appreciating the significance of a child’s ball bouncing into the street from between the parked cars
    Reaction time — actually applying the brakes in time to avoid killing the child running after the ball..
    Legalize marijuana? Absolutely. But that must be accompanied by laws that make driving high not just a traffic misdemeanor, but a felony — with jail time for a first offence, penitentiary time and a year’s suspension of driving privileges for a second, and permanent loss of one’s driving license for a third.
    One can drive safely after a glass of wine with dinner. One cannot after toking, even one puff. Minimum recovery time, last toke to getting behind the wheel: Two hours. Any less, get jailed.

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