Safety Boss Wants Laws Against Stoned Drivers

Safety Boss Wants Laws Against Stoned Drivers
Posted by FoM on January 20, 2002 at 09:05:17 PT
By Kate Nash, Tribune Reporter
Source: Albuquerque Tribune
We know not to drive drunk. But what about driving high? Department of Public Safety Secretary Tom English said he wants to make it clear during this Legislative session that stoned drivers also are breaking the law."We have a enough of a problem with drunk drivers. We want to make sure people understand the state is in no way wanting people to drive if they've consumed marijuana."
However, it's more difficult to measure a driver's blood marijuana level than his or her blood alcohol level, English said."So we're working with scientists to see what the testing (for marijuana) would be like."Rep. Al Park plans to sponsor the bill, which could allow officers to use a finger prick device to test drivers' blood for marijuana."This is another arrow in the officers' quiver," said Park, an Albuquerque Democrat."I don't want people driving while intoxicated - or high."English said he's not sure how many stoned drivers are arrested each year, but the department needs the measure to "make sure there's no loophole so you can drive while you're high."English said Gov. Gary Johnson agreed to put the measure on his call, which is the agenda for items this session not related to the budget.The measure is one of a handful of policy changes the department is seeking this year.Another also has to do with drivers who are intoxicated.A bill likely to be sponsored by Sens. Kent Cravens and Ramsay Gorham, both Albuquerque Republicans, would create a registry of people who are convicted three or more times of drunken driving."We're not talking about someone who does it once and makes a mistake," English said. "We're after people who make mistake and mistake after mistake."The registry wouldn't be accessible to the public. English said about 1,000 New Mexicans have at least three DWI convictions and would have to register."If someone has three convictions, they've probably done it 500 to 600 times," he said.Also during the session, the department is seeking to tweak the state's sex offender act, known as the Megan's Law.That law requires convicted sex offenders to register their whereabouts with law-enforcement authorities.The state, the last in the nation to pass such a bill, has to improve the law to meet federal requirements, English said. If the measure isn't tightened, the state could lose $400,000 in federal crime fighting grant money.One change that could be made, Gorham said, would extend the length of time for which convicted offenders must keep registering with law-enforcement officials.A bill being drafted would make mandatory lifetime registration for the most violent sex offenders and a 20-year period for less violent sex criminals.Also on the department's list is a bill that would require law enforcement officials to fingerprint everyone arrested in New Mexico.English said that used to be the case "but compliance has sort of drifted."The bill, sponsored last year by Albuquerque Republican Rep. Joe Mohorovic, would require law enforcement agencies to submit the fingerprints to the Department of Public Safety, which in turn forwards copies to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.English said he's also working with legislators on measures that would heighten the penalties for murdering a police officer and for fleeing a police officer.Complete Title: Public Safety Boss Wants Clear Laws in Place Against Stoned Drivers Source: Albuquerque Tribune (NM)Author: Kate Nash, Tribune ReporterPublished: January 19, 2002Copyright: 2002 The Albuquerque TribuneContact: letters abqtrib.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Governor Gary Johnson's Home Page Lines Drawn in Drug Policy Debate Lawmakers Push To Change Drug Laws
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Comment #21 posted by Jose Melendez on January 21, 2002 at 12:51:17 PT:
Can't not, ugh, I need a grammar checker, too. (grin)
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Comment #20 posted by Jose Melendez on January 21, 2002 at 12:49:12 PT:
One step at a time
First I need to assemble text and pictures and create simple, easy to understand and honest PSA's on to DV. That only costs time, and I have the video and computers to do it. If I'm not mistaken, we all spend plenty of time here at the boundary crossings (thanks, Steve Tuck :) sharing and researching cannabis info, so it's not like it will cost us any more than we are "spending" right now. 
Then, one station at a time, research needs to be done on getting the ads aired. Maybe even some of you might agree to mail a few copies out to local stations inquiring as to whether and when they can be aired. Of course, most stations will refuse, and that data should be made available first in the freedom of speech lawsuits. 
At least a couple of media outlets will settle rather than fight us in court and perhaps even air the ads as part of the settlement. Next step: spend portions of the rest on airing the ads where they can be run, and advertise the tapes for sale at a very reasonable cost directly to the public.. even offer them at rental outlets. 
QcStrt, I can't not wait for any politicians, we need scientists and real people to start with anyway. The serious ones that want to help will speak up later and might even ask us to help make their ads, which is another source of funding. 
I want to make this a very low cost, effective campaign and it seems we could probably get more attention from the story about how the tapes were barred from the public, etc. 
Thanks Hope, nice ads, we should use pieces from them all, plus I was thinking I should make some True or False and multiple choice ads. those could also be converted to display advertising, like newspaper ads, even posters. But as those anonymous people say, one step at a time. I've got a (202) phone number tied to my email account (thanks to, maybe we could start in DC... 
There is plenty more, and I look forward to changing the world with you all. Thank you so much for helping me make this long term pipe dream a reality. 
Feel free to email me at jose if you have any info you want to share on this project. 
Peace, Jose Melendez
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on January 21, 2002 at 07:04:33 PT
A good idea for a commercial
This is an idea for a TV commercial that I lifted from the study group discussing marijuana. I thought it was great and hope it's ok to share it here. I have not included the person's name, etc., but you can check it out if you register at 
Show a guy in a polo shirt and khakis, NOT smoking, his hands behind his back, leaning against the front of a nice-looking apartment building. He says "I'm a (respectable profession). I've been a (profession) for X years. I do well at work -- I just got a promotion, and I've never had any complaints by my boss or co-workers. I have a fiance (holds up a photo of a beautiful woman) and we're planning to get married in June. I drive a nice car (cut to late-model BMW or such, then back to guy), I live in a nice neighborhood (kid comes down the street bouncing a ball; man says "Hi, Tony!" kid says "Hi, Jim!").I use marijuana. Not when I'm driving. Not when I'm about to go to work. But Friday night, I might smoke a little, just like you might take a drink or two. Marijuana is no more addictive than alcohol; in fact, scientific studies show it's a lot LESS addictive than alcohol. The biggest difference is that one is legal (cut to a car skidding off the road; then to a death certificate showing cause of death: "injuries from alcohol-related traffic accident"), and one is illegal.(guy moves away from the wall and turns left; his hands are handcuffed; two police officers appear and shove him into a squad car. Voiceover: "Why is marijuana illegal?")A series of spots like this, pounding home on the dangers of alcohol and the relative safety of mj, and the disparity in how people are treated who use each, might soften up the general public.(Also how hemp is illegal because it's impossible to distinguish at a glance from marijuana, so we kill millions of trees to make paper when we could make it from hemp fiber, and so on, and so on.)
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Comment #18 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on January 21, 2002 at 04:54:15 PT
  These PSAs should be made available for online viewing, and on that same page you could put a PayPal link saying something like, "To contribute towards airtime for these spots on national TV, click here". I bet you could raise a lot of money, and you could let your net audience vote for their favorites as well, or suggest ideas, or even submit their own.  Jose, I am excited. I, too, have wondered what such a campaign could change - but I lack the funding to make it a reality. Best of luck to you!!
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Comment #17 posted by freedom fighter on January 21, 2002 at 01:44:22 PT
Hey, Jose,lookinisde,E.j..
Many months ago, Kaptinemo wrote a script about a nice successful lady explaining about the drug war and it would be nice to have a woman explaining the evil of the "drug war". I do think his script would be powerful..Lookinside and E.J.., I once put an evil being where the evil being should belong.. His sentence was 88 years in the hole.. It was not becuz of what he did to me but to others. I am concerned myself.. In my town, the LAW just caught a dude who raped 3 in span of a week and he was caught few months ago and was released. I wondered just how many potheads were caught during his spree. This is immoral.ff
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Comment #16 posted by herbdoc215 on January 20, 2002 at 23:33:29 PT:
Jose, You can count on me!
I am ready and willing to try anything at this point to end this madness. Also if you run across any tornado's I do a really good commentary :) I hate seeing myself on film as I always feel like a hick but I do it anyway because I grew tired of waiting for someone more qualifies to come along. Hope I can help out in any way. This board is my favorite place on the net because yall are so real and this to me is where boundries are crossed. Keep on shining, beacons of hope are few and growing fewer everday, Thanks, Steve Tuck
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Comment #15 posted by lookinside on January 20, 2002 at 18:58:24 PT:
our own experience...
EJ: without going into detail, I'll say that Megan's law is important. Agreed that many molesters are family. In our case it was a person who befriended us. We didn't realize his real intent until after the damage was done. The story is a chilling one. Please email me if you want the whole story. I'm still amazed at how thoroughly he fooled us.
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Comment #14 posted by QcStrt on January 20, 2002 at 14:50:27 PT
being the Elections are coming soon why not Advertise for the Politician of choice 
with the Marijuana issue
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on January 20, 2002 at 14:49:53 PT
I think we have a lawyer here
I was told by someone that he is a lawyer but I don't think I should say who. That's up to the person. But yes we do.
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Comment #12 posted by Jose Melendez on January 20, 2002 at 14:37:42 PT:
I am ready to shoot and edit video PSA's, thanks so much Doctor Russo, I really think we can make something happen here. 
Robbie, my idea was to attempt to purchase small amounts of airtime knowing full well that they may decline to air them. I felt as long as everything was accurate and honest on our end, we would have lots of legal standing if they refuse to show them on tv. 
C-SPAN is a great idea also, I envision we would get more free coverage by advertising and selling "the tape they would not show America on TV" with point by point refutations of every prohibitionist lie... Getting Dr. Russo on CSPAN and FoxTV, etc. would come as they covered the coverup story (I hope.) I can see Tim Russert cutting to tape in my head right now...
I must echo another poster here, are there any lawyers that can help? Just to keep everything legit...
Jose Melendez - Arresting Marijuana Prohibition 
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Comment #11 posted by E_Johnson on January 20, 2002 at 12:46:30 PT
Can a newspaper be sued for censorship?
I took Mass Communications Law in college and I don't remember any legal decisions regarding newspapers that censor certain facts from their news coverage.That would be an interesting lawsuit to file against a newspaper, accusing them of direct censorship of the news.Could that be done? Are there any lawyers here?
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Comment #10 posted by E_Johnson on January 20, 2002 at 12:39:44 PT
That old thread picking effect
My favorite quote about feminism is: "When I ask what it means to be a woman, I am picking at a thread that can unravel an entire culture."It's a similar thing, I am finding, with marijuana. There are many layers of dysfunctional social organization to unravel here.The way the issue of illegal drugs is substituted for the issue of general teen and child mental health and safety, the way journalists give themselves permission to censor the adult news for their children's consumption, the way well-fed federal bureaucracies start to act as organisms seeking survival for their own sake, apart from any benefit to society, the way we trust modern pharmaceutical manufacturers far more than they deserve to be trusted, and the way we as humans still have this capacity for inventing scapegoats and doing horrific things to them as we avert our eyes and convince ourselves that our world will actually end up being better for all of the pain and suffering that we inflict on them...
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Comment #9 posted by E_Johnson on January 20, 2002 at 12:27:56 PT
Let's start writing journalism schools
The situation in American jorunalsim now is clearly outrageous.We don't have government censorship of the news but we are having this parental censorship of the news, where mainstream corporations decide what I as an adult get to hear, based on what they as parents want their kids to hear.This is a noxious new kind of censorship and someone has to start paying attention to it. Perhaps academics are distant enough from the pressure of the corporate newsroom politics to see that there is a very pronounced chilling effect occurring in social discourse over marijuana laws.This chilling effect on information is easily documented. Well, anyone wanting to research the censorship of marijuana-related science from the news media could just start searching this site. That's easy enough.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on January 20, 2002 at 11:17:06 PT
Another Idea
How about contacting Daniel Forbes and see if he would consider doing an article about how Dr. Russo feels about Cannabis as medicine and Cannabis prohibition. He writes for Rolling Stone. That's a huge magazine. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on January 20, 2002 at 11:04:51 PT
How about trying to find a way for Dr. Russo to get to talk on the Washington Journal? Lots of people watch C-Span. Just an idea. 
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Comment #6 posted by Robbie on January 20, 2002 at 10:48:42 PT
Jose: ads?
Where would you get these ads to play? I doubt you could get a pro-legalization message into PSA's. Not to mention that most stations wouldn't air them even if you could. Are you talking about buy air time? That's costly, and there's no guarantee that they'd sign a contract given the subject matter.As for who should write ads? I'd say get Robert Sharpe or Lehder to write them.
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Comment #5 posted by Ethan Russo MD on January 20, 2002 at 10:32:50 PT:
Jose, if someone will make arrangements, I will be happy to appear in PSA's about cannabis prohibition and medical usage.
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Comment #4 posted by Jose Melendez on January 20, 2002 at 10:22:22 PT:
It still amazes me that so few news outlets will cover the four driving studies that prove marijuana drivers can actually be safer than "sober" people. Recently, I emailed one of the authors of a newspaper article about marijuana. The author replied that her editors required her to delete several sections that to me proved marijuana is safe... 
If we can document the pattern of blacked out news and science on cannabis, I think the public will react favorably to our position... Again, someone send me scripts for short anti-anti-drug PSA's. I will make as many as I can afford, at least an hours worth of 10 and 30 second commercials could change the world.
Arrest Prohibition
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Comment #3 posted by observer on January 20, 2002 at 10:03:36 PT
Cannabis/Driving Studies
Australia: No Proof Cannabis Put Drivers At Risk (2001) Cannabis May Make You A Safer Driver (2000) University Of Toronto Study Shows Marijuana Not A Factor In Driving Accidents (1999)\1999\03\990325110700.htm Australia: Cannabis Crash Risk Less: Study (1998) Australia: Study Goes to Pot (1998) always, power-lusting bureaucrats are anxious to steal more of your traditional rights. They will of course lie, and say that it is for your own good. But we know better.Pot makes people better drivers ... according to the statistics. Not that facts make a bit of difference to those who would love to throw you in jail, and steal more money from you to do even that.
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on January 20, 2002 at 09:28:19 PT
The flight from reason
Human emotion. The major cause of stupid laws.Also during the session, the department is seeking to tweak the state's sex offender act, known as the Megan's Law.That law requires convicted sex offenders to register their whereabouts with law-enforcement authorities.Seeing as how the vast majority, like well over 90%, of child molestation and rape in this country is committed by family members or trusted relatives, I see Megan's Law as an emotional law whose cost will be unfortunately disproportionate to te real effect it has on the lives of actual children.The sad fact is that there is very little that the law or government can do to protect children from abuse withn the family. If you take the child away from the family, then you have the issue of how to protect the child from abuse within whatever system you use to replace the family. And there is plenty of that.Megan's law makes people feel like they have some measure of control over the misery of sexually victmized children, like they can stop it using the power of law enforcement.But we don't have a lot of control over how children grow up. That's why we have a War on Drugs, too. Every piece of research out there suggests that toxic parenting leads to addicted adults. The ONDCP layers this with anti-marjuana propaganda but one can see in ttheir propaganda that they actually recognize this fact. They recognize it and then turn around and use it to wrap around an emotional appeal against marijuana designed mainly to secure American support for their fat wealthy federally funded anti-marijuana industry.These ads do very littel if anything to help kids in the real world, just like Megan's Law, although emotionally appealing, really does very little if anything to help kids in the real world.There still is very little we can do to protect kids from their own parents.I mean look at Prince Harry even. Tis poor kid -- his father leanred that he was having drunken drug parties in the family home from the SERVANTS? Where, pray tell, was the father? I remember back when Harry was hit in the head by a bat at school. His mother stayed with him at the hospital while his father made a splashy public appearance at the opera. So where was dad when harry came home from Eton? You'd think if your kid was away at boarding school all year, you'd be wanting to spend time with him when he came home, eh?Britain is a society where the upper class all march their kids off to strict boarding schools at a tender young age. And we're supposed to be shocked when these upper class kids end up in rehab for cocaine addiction?Well, those who are shocked are then instructed by the government to take that shock and use it to destroy the lives of more marijuana users.Yes blame it all on marijuana, not the bloody Prince or any other adults else on whom children depend.
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Comment #1 posted by Robbie on January 20, 2002 at 09:18:59 PT
alcohol == marijuana??
"We have a enough of a problem with drunk drivers. We want to make sure people understand the state is in no way wanting people to drive if they've consumed marijuana." 
OK, how many drivers are driving while high on pot? Do you have any numbers that suggest that more people are driving high instead of drunk? Or the other way around? This seems like an unnecessary "added tool" for the police arsenal of arresting intoxicated drivers. Of course, it sounds more like a beurocratic or political "tool" to me.Besides, if you're going to treat drunk drivers the same as drivers who are high, will you treat marijuana the same as alcohol and legalize it??I didn't think so.
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