|Home Cannabis 101 History The War Stoned ≠ Drunk Misinformation Addiction Why the Fuss?|
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As of January 1, 2018 there are more states in which marijuana is legal in some form or another than states in which it stubbornly remains illegal.
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Driving While Stoned
A five foot tall placard sits in a local shopping mall, next to the little playground where parents rest. It depicts a young girl, eight or nine years old, who is dead. The placard also prominently features the girl's crumpled bike, a car and a half-smoked joint - the obvious intended implication being that if you drive while stoned you will probably kill a little kid, assuredly based on the faulty assumption that stoned = drunk.
The idea that driving high is in any way the same as driving drunk is complete nonsense. But let’s be clear at the onset: we are talking about
Having qualified the next statement with the previous one:
In a nutshell; simply put: driving stoned is just driving … stoned.
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Imagine if you will, two friends – potheads both - sitting on the back porch getting high. One turns to the other, exhales, and says, “I could really go for some of those powdered-sugar donuts right now.” His buddy responds, “Or some nachos!” “Dude!” One of them picks up his keys and they plop into the car – neither thinks anything about that fact that they just got high. Because they know that driving stoned is just driving … stoned.
An adult driver who has several years of driving under their belt, and who is used to being high, probably doesn’t even consider being high while they are driving anymore – they’re just driving. Regular marijuana users older than forty have probably driven more miles high than they have straight.
Just as many video games emulate driving, in some ways driving is a lot like playing a video game. Both require concentration, survival skills, and a desire and/or need to do very well while completing the course. Obvious differences include the fact that you probably can’t kill anyone with your video game, while your car is a lethal weapon. The key to driving high is remembering that at all times.
While a drunk person will play a video game less and less well as they become more and more drunk – as would also be true with their driving, a stoned person will probably play the video game better and better as he gets high – at least to a certain point. Assuming that he/she is doing well playing the game, the stoned person will forget about smoking any more and never get to that certain point, while kicking ass at the game.
Driving high is like that; just matter of fact. You get in the car, you’re careful, you realize you’re stoned. Even though you’ve memorized the alphabet backwards and marijuana is not illegal where you are, you DO NOT want to get pulled over. You check the mirror an extra time before you pull out, and you drive.
Any seasoned marijuana user will tell you that there is nothing like heading down the highway on an early-morning or late-night road trip, cell phone either turned off or not yet invented, tunes up, windows down, stoned to the bone. I-15 northbound through Utah into those majestic snow-covered mountains, SR 29 eastbound through Wisconsin's picturesque hills and small towns on a sunny morning, at one time or another every single mile of I-5 from Mexico to Canada.
Driving while high falls into the category of, the police know it and they don't want you to know that they know it. There is no way that through fifty years of smoke pluming out of VW vans then, and minivans now, the cops never got hip. As a result, they are in the misinformation game, equating driving stoned with driving drunk when they know full-well it isn't true.
They think they are doing a good thing, just like the incredibly over-zealous mom's group that designed and paid for that placard in the mall. It's just that marijuana users that aren't comfortable with it and shouldn't be driving, don't. Unlike drunk people, stoned people will listen to their friends, and can realize that being mumbly-stumbly is not a good time to drive. To make a sweeping generalization, marijuana users are usually either comfortable driving while high and do, or are not comfortable driving while high and don't.
This is how it is out there; people are driving high all aound you, they have been for over fifty years, and you can't tell the difference! There is absolutely no question that the number of traffic incidents caused by people driving stoned is but a tiny fraction of one percent of the incidents involving drivers under the influence of alcohol and there is not one single scientific study that says differently. The next time someone starts rattling off about the dangers of driving while stoned, ask them where they got there data. If they answer wuth anything other than, "I made it up", they are lying.
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