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road sage

Part of cannabis laws and regulations

Is marijuana already legal? It must be.

How else can you explain the gibberish that’s being written and spewed about driving and cannabis? Pundits and politicians are worried about a deluge of cannabis-infused drivers hitting our roads once the drug becomes legal on Oct. 17, 2018. There will be pizza-laden, nacho-crammed cars crowding our streets. It’s bongs away!

To borrow a phrase from Fast Times at Ridgemont High’s Mr. Hand, “What are you, people? On dope?”

A man undergoes a sobriety test before being detained at a LAPD police DUI checkpoint in Reseda, Calif. on April 13, 2018.MARK RALSTON/Getty Images

There will not be an explosion of high drivers because those people are already high and driving. The wave’s already hit. A recent study from Statistics Canada revealed that one in seven cannabis users admit to driving while high. Fourteen per cent admit to driving two hours after using. Our roads are already full of people who are on cannabis. We just haven’t noticed them.

It’s definitely a problem, just not a new one.

Legalization will bring changes. Baby boomers will buy their medicinal weed from “budtenders” without worrying about getting busted. Criminals, who aren’t going to enroll in culinary school just because the Liberals legalized weed, will target stronger strains and hard drugs at young people and focus on trafficking cannabis into the United States. In cannabis-legalization poster state Colorado, the No. 1 age demographic for heroin-addiction treatment is 18-24. Yet, I doubt we’ll see more cannabis cruisers. The people stupid enough to get high and drive are already doing it.

What’s most dismaying about the cannabis/driving debate is that is reveals just how strongly Canadian believe that driving is a basic human right. Judging by our habits, you could say we value the right to drive more than freedom of speech.

For some reason, drivers feel they have a right to drive just a “little” impaired. We have a right to drive with THC in our systems. We have a right to drive after a few drinks, just so long as we don’t blow over.

Think about it. It’s almost impossible to have your licence permanently revoked. In 2015, drunk driver Marco Muzzo killed three children and their grandfather. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. His licence will be suspended for 12 years following his release. Forget the fact many people believe he should be in jail for life; how on Earth is he ever to be allowed to drive again?

But there you go – in Canada we are guaranteed peace, order, good government and the right to drive no matter how dangerous we are (with time off for the odd bit of impaired driving or vehicular manslaughter).

Here’s my solution to the cannabis-driving conundrum – don’t drive.

If you’re using cannabis as medicine or for recreation, if you’ve taken a handful of Xanax or any other substance that might impair your ability, don’t drive. Just like you wouldn’t drive after taking a prescription drug that might impair your ability to drive. I’m just floating this out there. Maybe walk, run, stagger, crawl, bike; take a bus, train or subway, taxi, an Uber; or get a lift from someone.

I know it sounds crazy, revolutionary even. The same goes for drinking alcohol. If you’re going to drink, don’t drive. Try staying home and drinking. Get as lit as you want, just take the couch instead of the car.

This is not a hard problem, people. Get as high as you want. Get as drunk as you want.

Just don’t drive.