He's a Train Wreck Behind The Wheel
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He's a Train Wreck Behind The Wheel
Posted by CN Staff on October 20, 2010 at 10:19:55 PT
By Steve Lopez
Source: Los Angeles Times
California -- The man in the uniform had a question for me. "How do you feel?" CHP Sgt. David Nelms asked. His interest in my health was probably prompted by the fact that I was at that moment toking a joint stuffed with a bud called Train Wreck. Pretty good, I said, already buzzed enough to wonder if this was really happening.In my youth, I spent more than a few evenings hoping the police weren't keeping close tabs on my activities. So it felt a bit strange last week to have a group of cops paw my marijuana stash and then ask me to get high.
"There you go, Cheech," said KABC radio host Peter Tilden, a fellow volunteer. Tilden was smoking something called Blockhead, which I presume is a standard choice among talk show hosts.As reported in my first installment of the Cannabis Chronicles on Sunday, I had been asked by Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich to help determine whether, and how, marijuana impairs driving. He recruited more than two dozen police officers from various Southern California agencies and the CHP to bear witness and study the differences between driving while high and driving while drunk."Probably nowhere in America is what we're doing today occurring," Trutanich's chief of investigation, Gary Schram, announced after I arrived at the LAPD training center in Granada Hills.I think that was probably true.I was invited to participate in part because I had been cleared to use medical marijuana legally last year by a gynecologist who said he knew nothing about back trouble but believed cannabis might just be the best cure for my pain. I'm not really a smoker, though, so I was concerned that I might get knocked on my heels and skew the results.But Trutanich and many cops believe that if Proposition 19 passes next month and marijuana is as legal as potato chips and nearly as cheap, more new users will be driving under the influence, so the experiment would be worthwhile. Trutanich also noted that users often have no clue as to the potency of the grass they buy, and it varies wildly. Some of it can even make you feel like you've been in, let's say, a train wreck."OK," said Trutanich, "let's go."Before I sampled the meds, the cops wanted to get a baseline on how I drove unimpaired, so I got behind the wheel of a marked CHP cruiser and was put through a series of tests involving a slalom course and various tight parking maneuvers.For the trickiest part of the test, I drove toward a three-lane fork in the road, with a green traffic light above each lane. At the last second, two of the lights turned red and I had to swerve into the green lane. I pulled it off just fine, but in jerking the car, my bag of dope slid onto the floor.Next, Tilden and I were escorted to a bluff at the edge of the training center where we could light up without risking a contact high for the assembled peace officers.Two brave representatives of the CHP accompanied us, Nelms and officer J. Leffert. Well, here we go, I thought, lighting a stick of Train Wreck with the cops looking on. From the bluff, I could see "Nooch" Trutanich and company assembled in the distance, with an L.A. Fire Department paramedic unit waiting in case something went horribly wrong.A few hits later, I suggested to Tilden that we roll a vehicle, come out holding our necks, sue everyone and retire, but that was the dope talking. Tilden had forgotten his rolling papers, so I gave him my Bob Marley wrappers and Officer Leffert expertly rolled a fat one for him."What are you, Rastafarian?" Tilden asked the officer. "Look at the size of that blunt."One of us, after several strong hits on a second joint, was now giggling like a high school sophomore, and it wasn't Tilden or the cops. I believe Train Wreck may be from the sativa rather than indica species of pot. Sativa is said to give you a spacey surge instead of a drowsy body buzz. This could explain why, when I saw southern division CHP commander Kevin Gordon approaching to see if we were ripped yet, I stood on one foot for him, as if taking a sobriety test while puffing away and laughing like a hyena."Are you having fun?" asked Nelms, the drug recognition expert.What, is that a crime, officer?When we were driven back down the hill and I slid into an unmarked Crown Vic for my driving test, I couldn't resist the urge to play a little prank. I revved the engine, shifted into forward and jerked forward in the direction of the gathering, honking the horn like a lunatic as Trutanich and the others prepared to scatter.But despite behaving like a doofus, I thought I could drive pretty well. For several minutes I concentrated on slaloming, parking and then finally the dreaded traffic signal.It didn't seem to me that I was as impaired as I would have been after a few beers or glasses of wine or if I was one of the morons who drive while texting and yakking on cellphones.But when I finished, Sgt. Nelms said I was less confident than I had been before smoking. He had to admit I hadn't bombed on the slalom and parking challenges, wobbling only a few traffic cones.Getting through the traffic signal was another matter. Having to process a lot of information and make a quick decision, on Train Wreck, was a challenge. I swerved radically before getting into the correct lane, and if I were a cop, I'd have pulled me over.Tilden, meanwhile, parked like a blind man. He ended up so far from the curb after parallel parking that he would have needed a search party to find it. But he had enough Blockhead in him to think he'd done just fine."They both show impairment across the board," Sgt. Nelms announced after we were put through another round of field sobriety tests.Trutanich seemed pleased with the findings, but I think more research could be useful. Dude, I didn't even get a chance to dip into my bag of Skywalker.Call me any time, Nooch. I'll do it for science.Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: Steve LopezPublished: October 20, 2010Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #17 posted by rustyfuggerIVXX on October 22, 2010 at 05:56:42 PT:
Train Wreck Behind the Wheel
Enjoyed the read, but as I see it, driving while stoned is no better than driving while intoxicated on alcohol or any other drug. That being said, I still stand firmly behind the national movement to leagalize or at the least decriminalize the person use of cannabis. 
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on October 21, 2010 at 22:14:13 PT
Uh oh. I kind of know how I may have done it this time. I tried to add the name Melanie to the comment after I'd already hit the post button... and then remove it... and Viola! Two posts!Sorry.
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on October 21, 2010 at 22:11:33 PT
I loved and still do love this song so much.
Lay Down need to find one with better sound.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on October 21, 2010 at 22:10:58 PT
I loved and still do love this song so much.
Lay Down need to find one with better sound.
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on October 21, 2010 at 21:57:56 PT
Brand New Key
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on October 21, 2010 at 21:54:03 PT
I know what led me to search you tube for it...
A HP commercial with a baby running down a busy street in a walker with that song playing.Aaargh!!!!As any mother or father can tell you, it is serious business raising a child. Babies and little children will kill themselves, or put themselves in danger without someone with them all the time (you can call it "supervising a child", I call it "raising" them up. Alive.) They will, at the slightest and quickest and quietest opportunity, or loudest opportunity, drink and eat poison... and bugs. They will fall down the stairs. They will jump down the stairs. They will jump out the window and off balconies , or off the roof. They will climb on to the roof. They will get into the attic, with the attic fan. They will try to fly. You've got to make sure their attempts to fly are only from limited heights with safe landings. You have to be with them and play with them. You have to show them stuff. You have to show them everything. You have to tell them how it works.Some will go wherever they want to, and it's usually somewhere you don't want them to go, whenever they want to, no matter what is in the way. They sometimes get bit in the face by snakes and sometimes, miraculously, not, get bitten or even mauled or killed by dogs. Sometimes they run their bikes or cars into other cars, or trees, or poles, (I'm thinking of mayhem in her pink car). They jump off cliffs and dive into shallow water. There is great danger for children during the first few years of their lives if you don't watch them constantly! They can crawl fast and run fast. As older children, they make plans quick!) Cars! You're so lucky when THEY... the child themselves, calls to tell you they've had a wreck... and no one was seriously hurt.And sometimes they will get run over, wreck out, or fall off those cliffs anyway! No matter what you do. That's where you need Grace. Lots of it. Some more than others. And sometimes that Grace doesn't come. It doesn't appear to anyway. That's the hard part. Part of life is hard. Very hard.It was a seriously sweet commercial... but seriously scary and the kind of thing to remind everyone to think about the baby! He or she can move. They won't tell you when they learn to climb out of the bed and you won't know unless you happen to see them walk in the room or find them playing in their room.If your tired. You must learn to never fall deeply enough asleep that a wrong move on your child's part won't bring you to complete and sudden and readiness to cut the move off at the pass.That's just wrong moves... accidents. Then you've got to protect them from stuff like pain, death, disease, natural disasters, and unnatural disasters, and screwed up people.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on October 21, 2010 at 21:14:03 PT
Although I am so enjoying the comments ... OT
I ran on to this this evening, and it made me smile.You that liked the seventies show might like it... and it's sweet, anyway. A high school girl made this video during the seventies to a recording of "Brand New Key". I liked the seventies. Most of it. The song and video take you there. The song and the fact that everyone really was skating alot, riding bikes alot, wearing short, short skirts alot, and, sometimes, the "Puppy Dog Ears" hairdo. (Think Christy on Three's Company. So yes there were lots of teenagers and young women wearing them more occasionally they might have since they were children.)Anyway, it's precious. Really. And I thought some of you might smile, too.Brand New Key
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Comment #10 posted by b4daylight on October 21, 2010 at 16:18:59 PT:
The fact we can't measure the impairment of cannabis speaks volumes for prohibition. 
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Comment #9 posted by Dankhank on October 21, 2010 at 08:18:58 PT
I have observed the same warning on the data sheet for Marinol. Patients receiving treatment with MARINOL® Capsules should be specifically warned not to drive, operate machinery, or engage in any hazardous activity until it is established that they are able to tolerate the drug and to perform such tasks 
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Comment #8 posted by BGreen on October 20, 2010 at 21:40:53 PT
If it's good enough for Oxycontin .....
This is from the FDA-approved product insert for the horribly deadly and dangerous drug, OxyContin, which has killed tens of thousands of people:What Should I Avoid While Taking OxyContin®?*Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or participate in any other possibly dangerous activities until you know how you react to this medicine. OxyContin can make you sleepy.So, these idiots acted irresponsibly, outside of which unknown substance they imbibed, inhaled or ingested, therefore idiotic behavior exists independent of which of any substance it is. The legality of the substance makes no difference.Why must cops lie? Why must reporters check their brains at the door whenever they're in the presence of a cop?The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on October 20, 2010 at 20:39:31 PT
This article is an infuriating
piece of media and law enforcement concerted trash, if it's anything besides a sick joke about something very serious and important. "I was invited to participate in part because I had been cleared to use medical marijuana legally last year by a gynecologist who said he knew nothing about back trouble but believed cannabis might just be the best cure for my pain."
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Comment #6 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on October 20, 2010 at 17:39:40 PT
OT - Weeds Awareness Week
Weeds is now on TV Guide Channel. They've been having weed-a-thons every night this week from 8pm-1am Central Time.
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Comment #5 posted by BGreen on October 20, 2010 at 15:43:27 PT
How about people with handicap plates?
I know this isn't politically correct but I saw an extremely obese man who left his shopping cart right beside his van in the handicapped parking because he couldn't move his fat unsupported. However, he climbed into a 4,000 lb. weapon and took off. How is his driving? I'll bet it's as impeded as his mobility when he's not behind the wheel.I was behind a decrepit old man at the license bureau who was pulling a oxygen tank behind him. He was given several chances to get the eye test correct and then given another license to drive his big a$$ oversized van for the next six years! I wanted to blurt out "WILL YOU HAVE SEVERAL CHANCES TO MISS THAT CHILD THAT RUNS OUT IN FRONT OF YOU?!?!?!?!?!" but I didn't because that wouldn't be politically correct.I don't want to feel contempt and hatred for a$$holes like those in this article and those I encounter on a daily basis, but I'm so freaking tired of being the one that it's perfectly OK to lie about, threaten and destroy while they freely go about with the mentality of a bunch of retarded monkeys.I went to RACING SCHOOL and kicked A$$, all while under the influence of some of the best cannabis California or Amsterdam has to offer. Why in the hizzell should I be arbitrarily written off as a threat? I don't, I won't and I'll fight like double hizzell to stop this BS insanity!Have the dill weeds in this article go without sleep for 24 hours and see if their driving isn't actually worse than after consuming cannabis. Oh, you won't do that because you don't want people to know that there are other very common yet legal causes for impaired driving, even worse than cannabis, but that isn't very convenient to your propagandist lies.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 20, 2010 at 14:38:03 PT
Thank you for the link.
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Comment #3 posted by konagold on October 20, 2010 at 14:29:05 PT
 a " fair and balanced" article on "The Health Benefits and Risks of Marijuana" from of all places Fox News
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on October 20, 2010 at 11:52:32 PT
elderly + prescriptions
A friend of mine stopped a lady whom she had followed while going to the grocery store. The elderly woman had crossed the center line several times on a two lane road, finally crossing completely over at one point, with oncoming traffic.When my friend reached the grocery store, the elderly woman was also going to the same destination. My friend confronted her nicely, asked her if she was ok, telling her she had crossed into oncoming traffic. The lady was unaware that she had! My friend, who is in health care, asked about her medications and if she needed an ambulance. The elderly lady stated something about her blood pressure medication and that she didn't need an ambulance, she would be ok.Upon leaving the grocery store, my friend noticed the elderly lady had left and my friend hoped she had done the right thing in not calling for help and allowing the woman to drive off.This type of situation with prescription drugs is so much more prevalent, debilitating and dangerous than cannabis intoxication. This poor woman had no idea her entire car was completely across the center line with traffic oncoming, in broad daylight!Impaired driving is a very serious issue but, I think the sheer volume of prescription impairment goes much beyond cannabis or even alcohol.
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on October 20, 2010 at 10:30:10 PT
OK, now let's see some folks take the prescription meds that make 70-year olds drive their cars through the front of buildings.This is pretty much Standard Operating Procedure for cannabis reform initiatives, the myth of the "stoned driver" is always trotted out last minute.
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