New bill would ban smoking pot while driving


A California State Senate bill introduced Thursday would outlaw driving while under the influence of marijuana in response to what the bill's sponsors say is a loophole in a recently passed state proposition which legalized recreational marijuana.

Prop. 64, which was approved by California voters in November, legalized recreational use of marijuana but made it illegal to have an open container of marijuana in a vehicle.

According to the office of state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, the proposition does not specifically prohibit smoking or ingesting marijuana

while driving, which leaves authorities limited options when a driver is spotted smoking or consuming marijuana products.

Senate Bill 65, which was introduced by Hill and Assemblymember Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley, would explicitly outlaw marijuana consumption while behind the wheel, Hill's office said.

"This legislation makes our laws for smoking while driving consistent with drinking while driving," Hill said in a statement. "With New Year's Eve approaching, it's important to remind Californians that impaired driving can be deadly."

"This law underscores that driving is a serious responsibility that should be undertaken without impairment," Low said in a statement.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen has also lent his support to the bill, according to Hill's office.

Under the current law, drivers in California can be arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs. The offense would normally be charged as a misdemeanor.

Under Proposition 64, drivers can be cited for an infraction for having an open container or package of marijuana in a vehicle, similar to current alcohol laws.

Currently however, there is no standard for marijuana impairment similar to the 0.08 blood alcohol content threshold used for drunk drivers.

Technology for a roadside marijuana consumption test is still being developed. In the meantime, law enforcement agencies are working with

trained drug recognition experts to determine if a driver is under the influence of marijuana, according to Hill's office.

Under the proposed legislation, a driver caught smoking or ingesting marijuana while driving a vehicle or piloting a vessel or aircraft would be cited for an infraction, similar to driving while drinking. The bill would give a judge the option to penalize the offense either as an infraction or a misdemeanor, Hill's office said.

— Bay City News Service


7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 30, 2016 at 10:04 pm

Why is smoking anything while driving not banned by existing distracted driving laws? Seems to me that smoking is at least as distracting as talking on a cell phone, which science has shown to be just as dangerous as DWI.

70 people like this
Posted by Are you kidding?
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Dec 30, 2016 at 10:46 pm

I highly doubt marijuana would have ANY deadly impairment as opposed to alcohol. Marijuana is extremely safe even in massive dosages. Cops, please focus on the alcohol impairments! Prevent the accidents from drunk drivers!

12 people like this
Posted by AllYouCanEat
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 31, 2016 at 7:57 am

"Are you kidding?"

They walk among us!

5 people like this
Posted by WTF?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 31, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Isn't a joint an "open container" of weed?

Isn't that enough to violate 64?


33 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 2, 2017 at 9:34 am

Gary is a registered user.

Be careful what you enact. But a little about drug abuse. Some marijuana abusers are so impaired they don't know it. If they ever did know it, they just can't remember. And if they remember, they really dont care. The Z generation is taking over. Z for Zombies. Is recreational marijuana more dangerous than alcohol? No. Not if it can be bought from places that do not also sell other (illicit) drugs - such as meth. But we have not exchanged alcohol problems for marijuana problems. We have both. And plenty of other drugs from all over the world - including straight-up poisonous chemicals from China.

14 people like this
Posted by Amelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 2, 2017 at 7:26 pm

"I highly doubt marijuana would have ANY deadly impairment as opposed to alcohol. Marijuana is extremely safe even in massive dosages."

If you believe this, you are in denial. You probably also believe it is not addictive. The best part about legalization is that it will also be legal to study the effects of pot.

7 people like this
Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm

USA is a registered user.

In their defense, they were totally stoned when they wrote the proposition.

47 people like this
Posted by JayInTheBay
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 3, 2017 at 2:32 pm


You actually have no idea what you're talking about, on 2 fronts.

1. As an MMJ (Medical Marijuana) patient i can assure you it is not addictive, not once have i had the shakes from not smoking. i don't have withdrawals when i don't smoke. These are the classic signs of addiction seen with alcohol, meth, crack, etc. as well as nicotine. Not once have i robbed my neighbors house to buy pot. Your assertion that is addictive is a very old world, uneducated view on this particular topic.

2. To keep with my theme of you being uneducated, Legalization in CA is going to do absolutely nothing to impact studies on the effects of marijuana use because it is still considered a Schedule 1 drug under Federal Law, therefore it still cannot be studied in any new ways, good or bad.

Please at least take time to educate yourself before making ridiculous assertions.

13 people like this
Posted by Bud
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 3, 2017 at 2:46 pm

It's great to see the old guard on the ropes for a change. All those years of frivolous pot laws - finally some logical steps taken. I expect that they'll be complaining for years to come.

Prohibition doesn't work.

27 people like this
Posted by Ak7
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 3, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Resident, I am all for your right to free speech, but perhaps parroting 'facts' which are not true should be reconsidered because it isn't productive and wastes everybody's time, and it makes you look like you don't even care about being correct.
If you really think smoking is just as distracting as talking or txting, maybe you should try it. Or maybe it is for you, that's possible. But the fact is that we cannot ban *all* distracting things. No one could drive after being fired, or catching a spouse cheating, or while they have hayfever, or with people in the car with them. I'm not against a no pot smoking while driving rule. It's just a predictable rule, whatever. But repeating untrue opinions and then calling out an unrelated study is manipulative and misleading.
I am sure my little comment won't stop resident from posting slimey trump-esque 'facts' in the future, but maybe the rest of us can see through the misleading yet repeated commentary without falling prey to it.

3 people like this
Posted by DrugFreeSchools
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 3, 2017 at 5:09 pm

We need another bill banning pot possession for sale (and maybe also pot possession and consumption) within 1/2 mile of any K-12 public or private school --- including the students and their parents. I really don't give a damn if you brain dead pot heads are in total denial and hate this because you don't matter. Just like tobacco and alcohol, we need to protect our school kids from druggie predators.

6 people like this
Posted by Amazed
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 3, 2017 at 9:29 pm

I'm amazed by these comments and guessing that those that believe that smoking pot does not impair the user are kids? Hard to believe that anybody (adult or kid) thinks that driving while stoned is okay. We're clearly moving backwards...

49 people like this
Posted by Paul Revere
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 3, 2017 at 11:31 pm

This is an extremely one-sided story that normalizes a pernicious myth: that driving under the influence of cannabis necessarily increases your chance of having an accident. Most studies show that people under the influence of cannabis the same number or fewer accidents than those who are not. Obviously if someone is *impaired* by cannabis or any other substance (cough medicine, perhaps) they absolutely should not drive. Fortunately laws against driving while impaired already exist.

Many cannabis patients find they are *more* functional under the influence of cannabis. It can improve focus, which is why many ADHD patients use it in lieu of the toxic amphetamines generally prescribed by doctors. It's totalitarian and dangerous to give the State a new way to persecute cannabis users. Senate Bill 65 is a creepy and terrible bill.

Of course, if you're predisposed to hate & fear cannabis (because you've been told your whole life how "reefer madnessey" it is) you may have trouble believing *anyone* benefits from smoking pot

3 people like this
Posted by WTF
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 4, 2017 at 12:06 am

What exactly is a "trained drug recognition expert"? Do the police employ battalions of these "experts" to assist in DUI charges for anyone caught smoking grass while driving?
And what about the person who smokes grass BEFORE they go driving? They are not violating prop 64 or the proposed senate bill 65, since there is no grass in the car at all. But theoretically they could be just as "impaired".

I'drove once while somewhat stoned, and for me it was actually a bit scary. While some say it helps you focus, I find that it more precisely unlocks the mind and allows it to go off and explore thoughts in all directions. When driving, that's not necessarily a good thing. I had to keep reminding myself to watch my speed, check my mirrors, stay in the lane, plan my lane changes, etc. It was like I did not fully trust my "autopilot" to do the right things. I overthought everything. Additionally the paranoia kicked in and I was worried someone would think I was driving oddly and report me. It was very uncomfortable and so I personally would not want to do that again. It's another example where grass use is rather "self regulating" which is a good thing.

In contrast, when you drink alcohol you become very unaware of your surroundings, over-confident in your abilities, and you don't really care or worry about anything which is a recipe for disaster.

I'm still on the fence about how strictly driving while stoned should be handled because I really don't know if it's truly dangerous. Have there been studies done? Does anyone have any quantifiable proof of an increased risk? Are we legislating purely on assumption? Given my own personal experience I do think it could lead to some type of danger, like overcompensating or being hyper-reactive, but I think it needs to be studied.

1 person likes this
Posted by Ugh!!
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2017 at 11:01 pm


[Portion removed; don't attack other posters] Driving while intoxicated on alcohol CLEARLY is more deadly and dangerous than alcohol.

Like this comment
Posted by Linda Morris
a resident of another community
on Jan 6, 2017 at 12:37 am

I am 67 years old Medical Marijuana patient who has smoked since the late '60s when pot was stronger and tended to turn anyone into a couch potato. At that time it was hippie territory, not necessarily used for medical use. Today, the different strains of pot vary for each condition. Once used recreationally, I now use it for a variety of medical problems, including herniated disks in my back, severe headaches, depression, etc. Depending on the need, smoking does not allow me to overdo to the point of "Oh, I've got to lie down". People who use medical marijuana usually know when enough is enough. I personally love to drive while stoned, but sometimes the strain of the pot will stop me from doing it. Sometimes smoking to relax to the point of, "my back hurts but I don't care now."

Recreational marijuana got me into some small troubles 30 years ago. All of us smokers know when to enjoy the high, enjoy the absence of symptoms and go with the flow.

New smokers, don't overdo, over smoke, cause trouble. Recreation is just that. Enjoyable, friendly. Don't spoil it for the people who need the medication because smoking pot is a lot better than taking 6 Norco, 2 Oxycontin, 3 Soma, 3 Zanaflex all at the same time. I'd much rather enjoy a bowl load than take all these pills.

1 person likes this
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 6, 2017 at 4:01 pm

What.. what are we doing here?

It's illegal to have an open container in the car.
It's illegal to be under the influence while driving.

Why does it need to be a crime to actually consume it while driving? Don't the other laws already cover that scenario?

It's not illegal to literally DRINK a beer while driving. It's the open container that gets you in trouble or your blood level if you drink a lot.

This is a law that is not needed. Someone wants to look like they're actually doing something. That last thing we need in this State are MORE laws.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of The Crossings

on Sep 25, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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