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CA Senate Advances New Bill Against Stoned Driving

CalifornOn Tuesday, the California state Senate voted to ban the use of marijuana in cars, making it an infraction that will be punishable by law. This decision comes just months after the state legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The bill composed by Sen. Jerry Hill (D – San Mateo) prohibits both drivers and passengers from smoking pot in cars. This comes from increased concerns about safety on California’s roads due to impaired drivers.

Road safety is a primary concern for many areas around the country that have joined in the growing number of states and municipalities to legalize the plant in any capacity-medicinally or recreationally. There is currently no reliable way for law enforcement officers to conduct sobriety tests on those suspected of driving high, though such technologies are on the brink of becoming available for use by employers and law enforcement officials. Knowing this, many agree that a stiffer penalty for stoned drivers serves as a fairly adequate deterrent against this type of behavior.

California has looked to the outcome of legalization in Washington for guidance about how to maneuver this new terrain. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in Washington has found that the number of drivers who had used pot prior to driving accidents had doubled between 2013 and 2014, a fact that is great cause for concern.

“Washington serves as an eye-opening case study for what other states may experience with road safety after legalizing the drug,” said Hill prior to the unanimous vote.

Having Washington as a basis of knowledge and comparison could work in California’s favor as the state prepares for its first licensed recreational dispensaries-which are poised to begin applying for licenses January 2018.

Now that the bill has unanimously passed through the Senate, it will be sent to the Assembly for further consideration. It is very much expected for this bill into pass into law without much-if any-opposition.

Photo by Korean Resource Center 민족학교

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