Although use of recreational marijuana is now legal in Illinois it is illegal to drive under its influence and charges are already being lodged against people suspected of DUI from marijuana use. This week’s “Public Records” section (Page 21) of the print and online editions of the Decatur Tribune lists those arrested and charged with driving under the influence of cannabis.
Since the new law legalizing recreational marijuana went into effect Jan. 1, DUI charges are starting to appear in Macon County’s Public Records and, as is the case with any other kind of DUI, they are printed in the Decatur Tribune. Considering the anti-recreational marijuana stance demonstrated by local law enforcement agencies, the Decatur City Council and Macon County Board, driving under the influence of pot in this community is not a smart thing for anybody to do.
• SECRETARY of State Jesse White issued a statement last week regarding Recreational Marijuana and Impaired Driving. White stated: “Recreational marijuana is now legal in Illinois. However, driving high is not. Illinois has strict laws against driving impaired. If you choose to use recreational marijuana, do so safely and responsibly and avoid driving impaired. If you are pulled over for driving high, you will get a DUI. “If you choose to use marijuana or consume alcohol, take public transportation, a cab or a ride sharing service or designate a sober driver.”
• WHEN I read or hear of politicians pushing agendas to create a safer environment for citizens, I almost gag. This state raises gasoline taxes to help repair and build better roads so that those driving them can drive safely. It’s not the roads that concern me as much as the increasing odds of getting injured, or killed, or having family members injured or killed, by a drunk driver, a high driver or a talker on a hand-held cellphone. Legalizing marijuana in this state just made driving on our roads a bigger threat to our safety and even more dangerous to our families.
Progressive legislation is not about freedom of choice to do what we want — it’s about greed and an insatiable appetite for more money in the state and local coffers. One of the biggest arguments in support of legal marijuana has been, since the beginning, how much money it will potentially generate for the state or a community. It seems that anything that will generate more money for politicians to spend is acceptable — regardless of any health or general safety concerns.
We need to concentrate on making sure those driving are in a condition to drive. We need better roads, but we also need non-impaired drivers. State government and some municipalities are willing to “sell out their municipal souls” for revenue and attempt to justify the effort about how much better off we are all going to be by having more money in the “pot”.
What price do we put on those, and their families, who will be negatively impacted by this new pot law? I guess the old-timers had it right when they said that “Illinois is going to pot”, but I’m sure that’s not the “pot” they were referencing.
• HEY! WE’RE #3! According to a report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were an estimated 8,110 motor vehicle traffic fatalities — just in the first quarter of 2019. Nelson Garcia, a Media Outreach Specialist, wrote that “Drunk driving and speeding are Illinois’ worst ranking factors. Illinois is the 3rd most dangerous state for drunk driving and ranks 6th for speeding nationwide.
“38% of fatal crashes in Illinois were alcohol-related.”
Guess what? The statistics quoted were before recreational marijuana became legal in Illinois Jan. 1 and fatal crashes caused by drivers being under the influence of pot were not in play. The way things are going, Illinois may be ranked #1 in DUI fatal crashes in 2020 — and that is no honor.
• NO CITY HALL INSIDER radio program for Jan. 16 and Jan. 23 as WSOY’s Brian Byers is on vacation. I’ll be back with Brian at 7:00 a.m. on Jan. 30 and we’ll certainly have a lot to discuss about our city’s government.