Keller @ Large: The Major Legal Issue In The Massachusetts Marijuana Law

BOSTON (CBS) – It may have been overlooked in the flood of Russia collusion questions, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions said something of great interest to us here in Massachusetts during his appearance Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee.

He was asked about federal policy toward marijuana legalization, something Sessions had previously vowed to crack down on by reversing the Obama-era policy of looking the other way. But now it appears President Trump’s laissez-faire attitude on this issue has trickled down to his A.G.

“Our policy is really the same fundamentally as the Holder-Lynch policy, which is that the federal law remains in effect and a state can legalize marijuana for its law-enforcement purposes, but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes,” Sessions said.

Translation: the feds won’t be interfering once recreational pot sales become legal here next summer. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still major legal issues facing us.

For instance, what to do about stoned driving offenders? A top local law enforcement official told me recently that they’re very worried about a surge in DUI cases and their ability to prosecute them. There is no legal field sobriety test for pot, and the state Supreme Court recently ruled that the tests for alcohol intoxication can’t be applied.

We’ve come a long way in Massachusetts since public outrage over drunken driving peaked in the early 1980s. The number of alcohol-related deaths on the road has dropped by fifty percent since then. Will legal marijuana put us at risk of reversing that trend?

Stay tuned. And, if you’re driving, stay sober.

Talk back to me via email at keller@wbztv.com, or you can reach me on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

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Comments

One Comment

  1. Al Pine says:

    It’s stunning how uninformed a top local law official can be. His fears of a surge in DUI cases are totally unfounded. It’s just one more straw the prohibitionists are grasping onto to support their agenda. Perhaps this top official has heard of the NHTSA. If he had heard of the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency he would know they have found that a person under any level of marijuana intoxication is no more liable to get in an accident than any other driver on the road. This should be common knowledge by now, seeing millions of ‘stoned driving’ miles are driven every year without noticeable, measurable results. AAA, the American Automobile Assoc., says the same thing. It’s worth repeating. A driver who has used marijuana is no more likely to get in an accident than the average driver with no impairment. What else does top official have?

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