DUIs, marijuana and protections for patients

Ngaio discusses a California cannabis user’s rights

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at ask420@newsreview.com.

I really enjoy reading SN&R and your column every time I come to Sacramento. I’m a truck driver and I live down south. I really enjoy smoking marijuana. I used to when I was younger, but ever since I started truck driving, I’m scared to even take a puff. I know the laws against truck drivers and marijuana are very strict and I could lose my license. I believe I could get my medical-marijuana card, seeing as I have this really bad leg pain. It’s my nerves, and they told me I need an MRI, but would my medical-marijuana card interfere with my right to keep on trucking? Or would I lose my license?


Thanks for your support. You could very well lose your license. California law has no protections for medical-cannabis users. And don’t think you can sue. The California Supreme Court confirmed employer’s rights to fire MMJ users in the case Ross v. RagingWire Telecommunications. Sorry, buddy.

One of the problems that employers and law-enforcement agencies have with marijuana is that THC stays in the body even after it has stopped being psychoactive, making it difficult to run tests to determine if someone is impaired. If someone is a regular cannabis user, they could have THC in their system even if they haven’t smoked for a few days. It took a friend of mine a month-and-a-half of not smoking weed to finally test negative for pot.

Washington state’s new cannabis-legalization law contains a “per se DUI” provision. If a person has more than 5 nanograms of weed in their system, they are automatically guilty of a DUI. I’m not sure how enforceable that provision will be. Arizona has a similar law on the books, but that state’s court recently ruled that a person cannot be charged with a DUI for simply having THC in their body. They must show signs of impairment. So, we will see how Washington handles any cases that may appear.

Let’s keep talking about the rights of medical-cannabis users. Did you know that medical-cannabis users are routinely denied placement on organ-transplant lists? Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense to me, either. However, the good folks at Americans for Safe Access are working to get the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act signed into law, but they are having a hard time getting traction. Do me a favor and head over to www.safeaccessnow.org/the_medical_marijuana_organ_transplant_act and show your support.

When can I start buying recreational weed in Washington?

—Spokane Sam

Soon. The Washington State Liquor Control Board has finally published a list of businesses allowed to begin the final approval phases of opening a retail establishment. Some 334 places will open all over the state. Look for shops by late summer. Woo-hoo!

What are you smoking?

—Kron S. Ewer

Right now I am on what could be my favorite hybrid of all time: Blue Dream.