November 13, 2009

The UK authorities have only recently begun tackling the menace of drug-driving. For years, mad-eyed potheads could speed down the motorway at 20mph – neck forward, jaws clenched, hands wet on the wheel – with virtual impunity

Testing for marijuana (a routinely abused substance in the UK) is both simple and cheap, and, as it’s a banned substance, you don’t even need to prove someone is over the limit. But if liberals and libertarians get their way – or if the government decides it really needs the tax revenue – weed could be legal again and there’ll be public information posters warning “Just two spliffs could put you over the legal limit.”

In the US State of Oregon they’re almost there already. Some 21,000 state residents have permits for the medical use of cannabis. All of which is simply a round-about way of introducing the following story reported by a variety of reputable news organs in that state.

At around one o’clock in the morning Calvin Hoover, 21, cropped hair, staring eyes, goatee beard, called 911 from outside the Free Loader Tavern in Salem complaining vociferously that someone had broken into his truck and stolen his Carhartt Jacket, $400 dollars in cash (mentioned presumably for insurance purposes), and – most galling of all – his stash.

When Sheriff’s deputies appeared on the scene there was no sign of Hoover outside the Free Loader, nor could he be found at his home address. An hour after his first call, Hoover was back on the line, at the wheel of his truck heading south, fuming at the deputies’ tardiness in apprehending the weed thief. The operator had some difficulty capturing the details of Mr Hoover’s comments due to his indistinct diction and his pulling over several times to vomit.

When deputies eventually located Hoover’s truck by the side of the road in Southeast Salem they found him nearby “looking for the people who stole my weed.” Declining to assist him in this righteous quest, the deputies instead took Calvin into custody, charging him with ‘driving under the influence of intoxicants’ and finding accommodation for him at nearby Marion County Jail.

They did agree to take a full statement from the aggrieved Mr Hoover, but advised that, since he had no permit for the medical use of marijuana, the inclusion of this item in his inventory of stolen property “might not have been such a smart idea.” Fortunately for Calvin Hoover, the haul has not been recovered, leaving just the drink-driving rap

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