The issues surrounding the potential dangers of stoned driving are being argued this week in a New York courtroom, where prosecutors are attempting to place the head of 17-year-old Joseph Beer under the proverbial guillotine because they say he was high on marijuana at the time he was involved in an violent car crash that claimed the lives of his four teenaged friends.
Beer’s defense team stepped into court last Thursday and waylaid the prosecution by introducing an expert witness from Yale University who offered a solid testimony, not only on behalf of Beer’s defense, but for die-hard stoners all across the nation. The gist of the testimony was that “chronic” pot smokers do not experience the same loss of cognitive function under the influence of marijuana as part-time users; therefore, marijuana could not have been a contributing factor to Beer’s car crash.
The defense then went on to explain that the unfortunate accident had more to do with the fact that Beer was travelling at speeds of over 100 mph on a winding road than his consumption of $20 of marijuana. Defense attorney Todd Greenburg continued by telling the court that THC levels in the blood is not an accurate method for testing the impairment of an experienced user.
“If you are a frequent user you do build up a tolerance. And the marijuana has less effect on your cognitive abilities, which are the abilities you need to drive a car,” Greenburg told CBS News, adding that “no one is arguing it is okay to smoke marijuana and drive.”
As you can imagine, the “pot defense,” as it is being called, has created an outrage among many local anti-drug supporters. “To say that you smoke marijuana frequently, therefore it doesn’t impact your ability to drive a vehicle is insanity,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds with the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. “In Colorado, which legalized marijuana a few months ago, we have already seen a tripling in fatal car crashes, where the driver tests positive for marijuana.”
Now, we’re not entirely sure where Dr. Reynolds is getting his information, but in a recent report from NPR, Colorado state trooper Nicholas Hazlett, who has been specifically assigned to policing stoned driving, says legal marijuana has not created an increase in stoned drivers.
Despite the uproar surrounding the defense in this case, the jury will be left to decide Beer’s fate once closing arguments are finished being heard this week.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.