Action Alert: Driving While Drugged

Your help is needed.

Please Tell Congress To Identify Impaired Drivers, Not Marijuana Smokers. Urge Your Congressman To Reject H.R. 3907 And H.R. 3922

NORML needs your help convincing Congress to reject a pair of bills that would criminally punish marijuana smokers for "drugged driving" simply if inactive marijuana metabolites are detected in their bodily fluids - even if the individual is neither under the influence nor impaired to drive.

H.R. 3907, sponsored by Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV), demands that state legislatures amend their DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) to enact mandatory minimum penalties for anyone convicted of driving under the influence of illegal drugs. Under the proposal, states have until 2006 to pass and enforce DUID laws "approved by the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration," or lose portions of their federal highway funding.

H.R. 3922, sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of legislators including Reps. Robert Portman (R-OH), Sander Levin (D-MI), Steven LaTourette (R-OH), Mark Souder (R-IN) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN), seeks to impose so-called "model" DUID legislation upon all 50 states - demanding they enact statutes sanctioning anyone who operates a motor vehicle "while any detectable amount of a controlled substance is present in the person's body, as measured in the person's blood, urine, saliva, or other bodily substance."

These bills represent an all out federal assault on the marijuana smoking community. Because inactive marijuana metabolites (inert compounds indicative of past drug use) remain detectable in the blood, and particularly urine, for days and sometimes weeks after past use, this legislation seeks to define sober drivers as if they were intoxicated. Someone who smokes marijuana is impaired as a driver at most for a few hours; certainly not for days or weeks. To treat all marijuana smokers as if they are impaired, even when the drug's effects have long worn off, is illogical and unfair.

At a minimum, laws targeting drug drivers should identify "parent drugs" (i.e., THC), not simply inactive drug metabolites, and have scientifically sound cut-off levels similar to those that exist for drunk driving. "Zero tolerance" laws are neither a safe nor sensible way to identify impaired drivers; they are an attempt to misuse the traffic safety laws in order to identify and prosecute marijuana smokers per se. Please take two minutes to contact your member of the House of Representatives and tell them that these proposed per se laws are neither fair nor sound public policy.

While you're at it, Tell a Friend.

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