Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) believes that medical marijuana is low rent trade; a seedy world filled with misfits and bad drivers…and is desperately searching for that polarizing issue to help him succeed the current California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris in 2018.
Despite the mountain of evidence showing that driving while intoxicated from marijuana and alcohol have decidedly different effects. Most notably, alcohol turns people into would-be ‘IndyCar’ drivers, while your average ‘stoned driver’ is convinced the cops are on his tail, and that is freedom is soon to be ripped away.
Despite making allowances for having a trace amount of alcohol in the human body while driving, the mean-spirited or just outright delusional Sen. Lou Correa has aligned himself with some of California’s more noteworthy zero tolerance zealots.
If Correa’s bill is passed, California drivers with any detectable level of any illegal substance in their blood would be guilty of driving under the influence.
Just how f@cked are cannabis users under this bill? Not only do medical marijuana users have no protection, cannabis can stay in the blood for up to a week after use. So: doubly.
It’s unclear why Correa is hellbent on passing this particular law. An effort to do so last year failed; a similar bill died in committee.
Medical cannabis advocates attended Correa’s Sacramento press conference to protest; the Sacramento Bee reported that legal medical marijuana users would “get a pass” under Correa’s bill. But on closer reading, not so much.
As currently written, SB 289 does not apply to any driver who has a “valid prescription issued to the person by a licensed health care practitioner.”
This is a problem for medical cannabis patients. Medical cannabis is not prescribed in California, common misuse of the term aside. Doctors cannot prescribe an illegal substance — but they can recommend it. And that’s what paperwork from a doctor allowing for the possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis is: a recommendation.
This means that every medical user in California would risk a DUI behind the wheel — even if their last toke was days or up to a week ago. Correa’s bill would rely on blood testing. And for light users, cannabis can stay in the blood for up to 24 hours after the use — for heavy users, it’s up to a week, according to California NORML.
In other words, a brownie a few days ago, a toke last night, a vape hit last week — all of it could be just as illegal as a bong in between one’s legs while at the wheel.