Across the country last November, Americans made their voices heard in regard to the war on drugs. A record five states legalized cannabis in some form. Montana voted to legalize cannabis for those 21 and up, New Jersey, South Dakota — who has since reversed course— and Arizona also approved recreational use. Legal weed started from a trickle in 2012 with Washington and Colorado and has now developed into a landslide with dozens of states legalizing it in some form.
Telling cops to stop kidnapping and caging people for possessing and selling a plant that has never killed anyone, is most certainly a massive step in the direction of freedom. However, many states who have legalized cannabis forget about those who have already been kidnapped and caged for this plant. Hundreds of thousands of people are still rotting in a cages or have criminal records hanging over their heads in states where cannabis has been legalized. This is an egregious injustice and it needs to change.
Luckily, there are those in the political world who see this injustice and are moving to correct it. With the passage of Proposition 207 (the Smart and Safe Arizona Act) on Nov 3rd, Arizona decided to make that move.
However, as is normally the case, when a bad law is reversed, there are always tyrants who will resist and fear monger. After the passage of Prop 207, the head of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety began fear mongering, claiming that cannabis DUIs would go up.
“It’s legal to purchase it, to consume it, but not while driving,” Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, said, adding, “We think there will be an increase (in cannabis DUI) all over the state, slowly but surely.”
Fortunately, he appears to be wrong.
According to his own Office of Highway Safety, so far in 2021, Arizona has seen 582 DUI drug arrests. Those numbers are on pace for 4,518 arrests this year, which would be the lowest number of DUI drug arrests since 2014.
These numbers are likely lower given the fact that people can test positive for cannabis, well after the effects have worn off.
“It’s hard, it’s really hard because unlike alcohol, there is no test or no chemical test one can do telling people someone is under the influence of marijuana. All it can show is prior use.” Lawrence Koplow, a former prosecutor turned DUI lawyer said, according to 12 News.
What’s more, many of these DUIs are issued by so-called “Drug Recognition Experts.” As TFTP has reported, stone cold sober drivers in Arizona get DUI’s and have to spend thousands of dollars proving their innocence. The source of the misunderstandings and illegitimate arrests, once again, come from Drug Recognition Experts (DRE), cops with badges and fancy titles who claim they can look at a motorist and on observation alone determine if someone is impaired.