Monday, February 4, 2013

To drive, or not to drive? That is the question

Image courtesy vectorportal
How much is too much?
Voters just approved a new law (Initiative 502) making marijuana legal for adults 21 and over, and to regulate it and tax it just like alcohol.
Just like you can't drink and drive, you can't drive while intoxicated with marijuana.
Which brings us back to the question: how much is too much?
This Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., the House Public Safety Committee will dive into the issue.
There's accepted science involving alcohol to determine when you're driving under the influence (DUI). If your blood-alcohol level is .08 or above, that's a DUI.
I-502 puts forth a blood limit of 5 nanograms per milliliter of the active drugs in marijuana. So is the science behind that number solid, or do lawmakers need to look at something else?
The Public Safety Committee is bringing in all kinds of experts – scientists, law enforcement and prosecutors – to talk it over.
Here's the lineup for Wednesday:
Overview of I-502: What is legal? What is still illegal?
  • Alison Holcomb, ACLU
  • Rick Garza, Liquor Control Board
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana: From the Roadside to the Courthouse
  • Officer Wylie, Olympia Police Department
  • Lieutenant Rob Sharpe (and DRE Program Manager), WSP Forensic Laboratory Services Bureau, head of Impaired Driving Section
  • Fiona Couper, State Toxicologist, WSP
Enforcement Protocols and Prosecution of Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana:
  • Aaron Pelley, Defense Attorney
  • Patricia Fulton, Defense Attorney
  • Amy Freedheim, King County Prosecutor's Office
The Science of Cannabis and Impaired Driving
  • R. Andrew Sewell, Yale University (via Skype)
  • Paul Armantano, NORML
Read this story in Spanish.