Tuesday, August 20, 2013

NO Coffee Shops: Legalization of Marijuana Brings New Issues to DWI and DWAI Drugs

Pick Your Pleasure (or pain), from greenomix.com

I just read an interesting article on how Colorado and Washington state are "tailoring" their new pot laws to minimize harms. Tailoring means an adjustment here, and maybe a narrowing of the where, when, how, and how much. Scope of law is important, we all need limits, especially to behavior that could be potentially harmful to ourselves and others.

Number one on their agenda is there will be NO COFFEE SHOPS! ie. coffee = weed

The "Menu" Changes Daily, from riversideca.gov

see article here:


First, Do No Harm

Just like doctors who take a Hippocratic oath to first do no harm, the legislators must create these new cannabis law to minimize dangers to people and society. What the article failed to hone in on IMHO is that the real reason for NO coffee shops was to reduce the need to drive to and from a shop.

Rule Number ONE: Reduce Harms with any new law

That is why these states have also passed the first marijuana "per se" regulation. Per Se in latin means "in itself." Or just by itself, with nothing else needed. In other words, just a specific amount and you are legally too impaired to drive/operate a car/boat/snowmobile/truck.

The new amount is 5 nanograms. It is the new .08 BAC for alcohol. BAC = blood alcohol concentration. Nationwide, if you have .08 BAC while driving, you are "per se" drunk (intoxicated).

Alcohol Served in Bars, Taverns, and Restaurants Can Promote Higher BAC DUI/DWI

I see a direct correlation (in my DWI/DWAI drugs practice) with the BAC numbers of my clients and the number of parties, bars, and places they frequented prior to their DWI stop. It makes sense, more places to drink and consume anything = higher amount of everything (generally).

I think we are moving in a good direction with the "decriminalization and legalization" of marijuana. It is less harmful than alcohol on a lot of levels. We are never going to completely eliminate drug use. Human beings are pleasure seekers. Regulating and minimizing harms should be government's goal and not just strict punishment.


Remember, New York State DWAI drugs (a misdemeanor) means almost any drug (medical/legal/illegal) that has impaired your driving to any extent. This includes marijuana. So don't smoke and drive, it is as bad as drinking and driving.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., J.D.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

Ithaca, NY