by David Downs
The retired cops at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition dressed down Chino Assemblywoman Norma Torres' AB 2552 earlier this week, saying her proposed bill - which makes any amount of cannabinoids in the blood the benchmark for intoxication, thereby forcing people who haven't smoked a joint in weeks to go to jail - would imprison sober drivers.
"It is absolutely conceivable that, if passed, this bill will become the foundation for DUI checkpoint abuses where the answer to the simple question, 'are you a legal medical cannabis patient?' will result in arrest and conviction under circumstances where impaired driving never occurred. And if it happens to the same patient on three occasions, they will face a mandatory ten-year prison sentence, all while still being innocent."
"Keeping impaired drivers off the road is one of law enforcement's most important jobs, but this bill has no basis in science. Enacting this legislation would not only be disastrous for our state's legal medical marijuana patients, but would impede public safety for all Californians by distracting police from catching actually dangerous drivers. Assemblymember Torres should withdraw this legislation immediately."
Torres is taking a lot of such flack from papers and medical cannabis patient groups, saying all she really wanted was more of Californians' blood for a problem Californians don't appear to have:
"Torres said enacting the bill would help with data collection efforts on whether driving under the influence of marijuana contributes to fatal crashes. 'One of the problems we faced as we continue to research this issue is that data specifically related to marijuana is not being collected,' Torres said. 'That's something we're looking at in this process.'" ... "She admits the bill language is 'not perfect' and there is room for amendment."
And look at Democrat Torres' friends these days, hardcore San Bernadino Republican trainwreck Paul Chabot, who backs Torres and obfuscates 2552 with some classic drug war rhetoric.
"The extremely wealthy pro-drug organizations and lobby groups have begun to target her because of this bill. They will harass her office to no end. We must stand united and not only call our elected officials to support her bill, but encourage other like-minded legislation go to the governor for signature - and a very good place to start is by ending the plague of marijuana dispensaries in our state."
Woah. This is Chabot's platform for state assembly in 2012: Border fence. Cut taxes, cut social services. Bigger defense spending and more drug war as part of a - we kid you not - "Eternal Battle Against Evil." Learn more at www.battleevil.com.
Chabot IS the drug war - an Iraq war spook, proud White House drug czar goon, San Bernadino narc, and now head of the absurdly named Coalition for a Drug-Free California. Alcohol, cigarettes, pills? That's American. Nice friends, Assemblymember Torres.
Some think 2552's going to die in committee, but call your representative anyway. Tell them to stop creating criminals out of thin air. That includes stopping the creepy "mandatory registration" bill AB 2465, as well as the anti-family AB 2365 - a 'use medical marijuana, lose custody of your kids in divorce court' law.
Every year we're going to have to do this. Might as well bookmark this Know Your Legislator page. Though we never really know, do we?