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New Bill Would Make Marijuana Use While Driving Illegal

Jeff Chiu / File / AP

This Feb. 1, 2011 file photo shows medical marijuana clone plants at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif.

Jeff Chiu / File / AP

Just as you can’t drink alcohol while driving, a bill prohibiting you from using pot behind the wheel recently passed a key committee vote.

Some California lawmakers say they need to close a loophole caused by the legalization of recreational marijuana. The proposal would also make smoking pot in the passenger seat a ticket-able infraction and crack down on teens who drive high without a prescription.

Backers include the state police chiefs and district attorneys associations.

Sonya Guadalupe, who’s studying herbal medicine in Berkeley, says it makes sense.

“I’ve seen people that were high that were driving. I’ve sat next to them," Guadalupe says while laughing. "But it’s just not a good idea.”

Jerry Duncan, who works at a nearby horse track, says he didn’t support legalization last year for fear it would create a legal mess for California.

“I think that’s just as bad as people texting," Duncan says. "Or talking on their phone in that it’s a distraction.”

After he and I talked, I smelled someone nearby smoking pot, but that man laughed and declined to be interviewed. Outlawing it while driving might not matter to him much anyway — he was waiting for a bus.


Daniel Potter


Daniel Potter started out as an intern at Nashville Public Radio, where he worked as a general assignment reporter for six years, covering everything from tornadoes to the statehouse.   Read Full Bio 

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