BOSTON (CBS) – Recreational marijuana use is now legal in Massachusetts, and it won’t be long before the pot shops are up and running. And you know what that means – some people will be getting stoned, and then getting behind the wheel.
In a new public service announcement video, the state is warning that the same laws against drunk driving also apply to driving under the influence of pot.
But at a news conference Wednesday, they also admitted to a fact that has law enforcement very concerned about their ability to deter stoned driving.
“It’s very hard to draw a line between some level of THC in the system and what the impairment is,” one official said.
And that’s the problem. Tougher enforcement policies and penalties have led to sharp decreases in drunk driving here over the past few decades. But there is no accepted road test for marijuana impairment. That doesn’t mean you can’t be stopped, arrested and charged based on other signs of being impaired, but it could create a false sense among scofflaws that they have better odds of beating the rap when driving while stoned.
Some members of the legal pot industry are also appealing to drivers to avoid stoned driving in part on the grounds that it might reflect poorly on legalization, and they’re right, it would. But if you’re old enough to recall how it took years of grisly accidents to cut down on drunk driving around here, you have to wonder if the same grim warnings may be needed again.