By Jacob Sullum
Opponents of Proposition 19, California’s marijuana legalization initiative, are falsely claiming it would allow people to drive while stoned. In a June Sacramento Bee op-ed piece, Bishop Ron Allen of the Greater Solomon Temple Community Church warned:
If this proposed initiative passes, California drivers will be able to operate a car while under the influence of marijuana.
The initiative states smoking marijuana while driving is impermissible, but it would be perfectly legal to smoke or ingest marijuana immediately prior to driving.
And because marijuana stays in the body so long, police officers will have virtually no way to prove if someone just ingested marijuana 10 minutes ago or 10 hours ago. Unlike with alcohol, there is no current test to show the level of marijuana intoxication. All authorities can currently do is test for the presence of marijuana. If this initiative passes, it is perfectly fine to have marijuana in your system at any time—even while driving a school bus, taxi or light-rail train.