According to The Republican, dated Thursday, January 4th, 2018, page A5
“Commission Backs Expansion of Open Container Laws” by Shira Scheonburg
Summarized and discussed by Holly Wogan
Everyone knows that you can’t carry open alcohol in your car, but a special OUI Commission wants to include Marijuana under that umbrella. They call themselves the Special Commission on Operating Under the Influence and Impaired Driving. They came together in response to the marijuana legalization laws and have made some recommendations. When they found out that most kids smoke in their cars, (some adults too), to avoid doing it at work, school or home, they responded by looking for ways to put a stop to it and deter the smoking of weed.
“You can give out a few $500 tickets, I’m not saying that people won’t be smoking weed, but they won’t do it in a car.”
A Member the Special OUI Commission
They intend on initiating a public awareness campaign. They should call it Reefer Madness 2019. Does anyone not remember Reefer Madness and how well that turned out? Even when it came out that the “facts” that weren’t outright lies, but were instead fabricated and exaggerated for dramatic effect; the damage was already done.
I can only hope that this time, it is more fact than fiction. There is a massive amount of misinformation and misunderstandings about marijuana. Some public awareness may not be the worst idea, provided it is fact based and treated in a fair, unbiased manner. I’m good with it. Though, there isn’t much about marijuana that pot heads don’t already know.
If not in a car, then where? When home, school or work may not be options, what else is there? Can we ignore the fact that they are deliberately targeting teenagers? It was, after all, the fact that teenagers smoke in cars that inspired movement in this direction.
Where did you smoke when you were experimenting with life, challenging authority, and rebelling against the man or perhaps your parents? Like it or not, our teens, are teens just as we were; as teens have always been. Society is making youth itself a crime. Just look at the policing of schools as another fine example, but that is a different discussion for a different time.
How exactly does it work anyway? An open beer is an open beer. It’s straight forward and obvious. However, what about a bag of weed? Or an edible? Or an oil? There are a lot of details to work out and a lot of questions about feasibility and logic.
“We’ve all seen people smoking a joint at a red light next to us, and that’s clearly open container, but what about the edibles? What about some of the oils?”
Massachusetts Undersecretary of Law Enforcement
The Warpole Police Chief suggests keeping marijuana in the glove compartment or the trunk, which sounds reasonable, but what if it is opened? Will it matter where it is kept?
Despite confusion and uncertainty about how an open carry container policy applies to marijuana, the commission has made some recommendations.
A $500 ticket
Most potheads have that laying around right? Especially teenagers.
More training for police officers about identifying and arresting impaired drivers, as well as, drug impairment certifications for police officers
We are talking about weed. It has a pretty distinct smell and doesn’t exactly take an expert to recognize it. Also, people know that driving impaired is dangerous. The question is whether or not marijuana causes significant impairment.
Medications, (marijuana included) affect everyone differently, so what will impair one person may, in fact, be fine for another. Marijuana calms some people down, just like antidepressants and Ritalin. Some people get all hyped up on marijuana, caffeine, prescribed steroids or Ritalin. Each case must be weighed on an individual basis, resisting the urge to indulge in “gut” instincts, snap judgments or subconscious biases that they may or may not be aware of.
What kind of training can be provided that will help officers do that?
Allowing drug recognition experts to testify in court
Allowing expert witnesses is nothing new and neither is cross-examination.
Launching a public awareness campaign about the dangers of impaired driving and the safe use of cannabis, as well as, providing educational material at marijuana stores
No one knows better the risks and rewards of weed than potheads. They are highly knowledgeable about their product; about its history, uses, and effects. They might be mildly interested but may forget what they were reading and why. I saw a special about it once, it was pure madness.
They are working out the logistics of blood and saliva tests
And my favorite…
Removing the time-consuming and “burdensome” process of getting a warrant from the courthouse and replacing it with electronic warrants that can be acquired in the field.
The argument is that the drug might not be in the person’s system anymore by the time they get the warrant. Weed stays in your system for 30 days, it doesn’t take that long to get a warrant. Doing so would open a door to more legal liberties that would make everyone less free and less safe.
This is all a moot point since it is already illegal to keep it out in the open in a vehicle in Massachusetts; whether it is opened or not! If it is in a vehicle it must be kept in the glove box.