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Brandon Seiler's Blog on Cars

Marijuana and Driving

Marijuana. What does it mean to you? For the cool kids out there, it probably arouses questions such as: Who’s got it? How much do I have left? And, Do they know? 

Sure, most people with their heads moving freely outside of their ass cheeks will tell you that weed might not be for everyone, but when used in moderation is far less dangerous than, THE MAN would lead us to believe…and far better suited to cure a hangover than the fire water he likes to tax up the kazoo. 

Yet, for all the weed smoking that goes on behind closed doors, getting behind the wheel after being seduced by sweet Mary Jane can pose some ethical dilemmas that run deeper than your average paranoia.

Is it safe? Well, the average character that likes to get high on any kind of regular basis will tell you that not only is it safe, but that it actually makes them drive more cautiously and thus, better. 

It’s easy to think of counterpoints to such arguments, such as classic bits by Cheech and Chong where they cruise down the freeway smoking a joint the size of a Flintstones baseball bat. 

“Man, slow down! You’re going to get us killed!” Chong says to Cheech. 

Then, it’s revealed that they’re doing a righteous 8mph and driving along the median as traffic whizzes dangerously by. Ha ha, pass the bong and make a triple-decker peanut butter banana and marshmallow sandwich during the commercial break; it’s all good fun from the living room…right?

Only, if you chuckle nostalgically at such a scenario, you might very well be one of those dirty dope smokers endangering the lives of all the other more responsible drivers on the road. Minus of course, the people that might have had three or four drinks, are on prescription drugs, cracked out on caffeine, texting, chain smoking, nearing a dangerous ineptitude in their old age, or are in perfectly good health and sound state of mind but simply suck at driving. 

See my angle yet? Yeah, well, I must admit that there is something more than a bit disconcerting about watching somebody put down a pipe and spend thirty minutes trying to locate their keys before attempting to finagle them into the ignition of their car. 

Wavers of the green flag will bring up the age-old adage that you can function much better high than you can drunk. Well, that might be true, but then again, how high are we talking, Smokey?

Let’s draw some lines here. There’s the, “This song sounds a lot better now” high, then there’s the, “I’d like to listen to that song, but I’m too busy tripping out on the translucent worm floating through the film of my eye when I stare at the ceiling just right,” high.

On the boozy side of the coin, there’s a big difference between driving home after a cocktail at the bar and cursing at an elm tree to get out of your way after downing a bottle of Wild Turkey. 

The real inequality between driving on hooch and grass then it would seem, is that it’s legal to drive after a couple drinks, but not after a couple tokes. 

The law as it stands seems more than slightly unjustified in this regard: There’s been extensive publicized study on the effects of mixing alcohol and driving, but weed…not so much.

Leave it to the British to bridge the gap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3zou4F00Ic. 

The video is entitled “Marijuana and Driving,” it aired on The Speed Channel and makes some interesting points on the matter. Enjoy, and be safe.


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Brandon Seiler is a bonafide car guy, member of the Northwest Auto Press Association and proud Washingtonian. He covers the latest auto news, technology, and pretty much anything having to do with car culture. You don't have to like cars to read his blogs, you just have to be able to read.

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