Editorial: It's Not About Public Safety 11/22/02

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David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 11/20/02

National shyster-in-chief (aka "drug czar") John Walters has done it again. Walters' "drugged driving" initiative calls for "zero tolerance" for driving under the influence. "It's about public safety," Walters claims.

Not only is the initiative not about public safety. It's not even about driving while drugged.

Smoke marijuana on a Saturday night, for example. Drive on that Sunday. Guilty. For that matter, smoke a week before. Guilty. Neither situation has anything to do with driving under the influence -- marijuana's components simply remain in the bloodstream for awhile after it is used, days or weeks after the high disappears. But head drug propagandist Walters isn't interested in that. He wants zero tolerance, for its own sake.

Not only will Walters' so-called "drugged driving" campaign not target real cases of impaired driving -- existing laws already do that -- it may actually deflect resources away them. Instead of monitoring the roads for truly dangerous drivers -- dangerous from alcohol, illegal drugs, insufficient sleep, carelessness or poor judgment -- police will be asked to indiscriminately round up all sorts of other people whose driving may be absolutely fine.

It is an insult to the many victims of drunk or careless driving. But it is not surprising, not at all. This is, after all, the drug czar whose TV ads equate drug use with supporting terrorism -- even though it is the government's prohibition that causes drug profits to sometimes be available to terrorists -- an insult to the victims of terrorism and to the American people as a whole. And this is the administration that put time and money that could have gone into investigating terrorist cells or protective measures, into raiding medical marijuana clubs that serve the sick and dying instead -- an insult to California's voters who approved medical marijuana, and a dagger in the face of all that is good and decent.

None of those things were about public safety; they arguably make us less safe. Certainly California's medical marijuana patients are less safe. And as someone who has "held the keys" and served as designated driver on more than my share of occasions, I'm entitled to say that I will feel less safe if drug czar Walters' "drugged driving" proposals becomes reality. So who will protect us from John Walters?

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Issue #264, 11/22/02 DRCNet Needs Your Help! | Editorial: It's Not About Public Safety | Drug Czar, Prohibition Establishment Seek "Zero Tolerance" for "Drugged Driving" -- Sober Marijuana Users in the Crosshairs | DC Treatment Initiative Clears Legal, Bureaucratic Hurdles, More Funding and Implementation Battles Loom | Medical Marijuana in New York: As the Marijuana Reform Party Licks Its Wounds, MPP Funds New Legislative Effort | Newsbrief: This Week's Cop Corruption Story | Newsbrief: HEA Resolution on the Move on Campuses | Newsbrief: With Milwaukee Drug War Running on Overdrive, Drug Court Judge Begins to Wonder | Newsbrief: Oklahoma Prisons Gobble Up More Cash | Newsbrief: Ambitious US Attorney in Boston Orders Increased Drug Penalties | Newsbrief: Arkansas Drug Czar Resigns After DWI Bust | Newsbrief: Could It Possibly Be TRUE Department -- New African High? | Newsbrief: California Town Won't Report Medical Marijuana Cases to DEA 264/antimarijuanaresearch Newsbrief: NORML Gives Heads Up on Anti-Marijuana Research Results to Be Published Next Week | Green Aid Establishes Legal Defense Fund for Ed Rosenthal | Media Scan: Doonesbury, Forbes in Slate, OC Register, Ed Forchion in DrugWar.com, Youth Today, Nando Times, CCLE Salvia, Heroin Times, Pot TV on John Walters, ONDCP | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum | The Reformer's Calendar

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