Happy, Umm… What Were We Talking About?

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Don't you hate it when you let a kid you were supposed to be watching drown because you were smoking pot? The folks responsible for those hilarious commercials have now produced equally hilarious "bad things happen" stoner greeting cards. They're even funnier after a spliff. (Hat tip: Jenn Holland.)

Incidentally, why aren't they running these ads for alcohol? I'd be much more worried about a drunk babysitter than a high one. And while I might be a little nervous riding shotgun with a stoned driver, I'd be terrified riding with a drunk one.

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  1. Good point, Julian. During my stoner days in high school, I always drove at or below the speed limit while high, lest I be pulled over by the imaginary cops in my rear view mirror.

  2. So, I guess the lesson is: don’t smoke pot and babysit at the same time. Seems reasonable enough. Oh wait, I don’t think that’s what they meant….

  3. Crimminy, in the 60s Dragnet had an episode about a couple toking and their kid drowning in the tub as they partied. Friday shook his head grimly and appropriately as the griefstricken mom shrieked and wailed, in a stoned stupor, beholding her dead toddler floating as water overflowed the tub all over the floor. Some themes seem good enough to recycle. (Oddly, I do not recall the good Sgt. busting any drto the unk folk for neglecting their tikes.)

  4. Driving while stoned might be less dangerous than driving drunk, but it’s still wrong, especially because some people combine a little weed and a little booze.

    One problem is that there’s no inexpensive test for marijuana intoxication (as opposed to marijuana metabolites) as there is for alcohol intoxication.

    I live in California where possession of small amounts of weed is a $100 misdemeanor. I’ve thought about the possibility of changing the law so that (1) the fine is boosted to $200, (2) the offense is an infraction or civil fine rather than a misdemeanor, and (3) $100 of the fine goes toward research, development, and production of a fast, cheap, noninvasive (hopefully saliva-based) roadside test for marijuana intoxication.

    I think the two arguments used for keeping pot illegal that resonate the most with voters are (1) we want to protect the kids and (2) we don’t want stoned drivers. A good roadside test could overcome the stoned driver objection to marijuana law reform.

    While adding $100 to the cost of the fine might seem unfair to pot smokers, I think the benefits of not having a criminal record balances that out. With roughly 50,000 misdemeanor arrests for marijuana in 2001, that would mean up to $5 million per year in research funding.

  5. The legislation which provides the funding for the ONDCP website and their $180 million per year in ad spots specifically forbids running ads addressing alcohol use.

    I can pull up a cite if anyone wants it…but we did a Focus Alert at MAP within the past two years on that very irrational point.

  6. As for the notion that ‘driving stoned’ is a bad idea, I would submit that ‘driving while impaired’ is the issue.

    There is no reliable data showing that marijuana use impairs driving adversely.

    As someone who has toked and driven routinely for over 25 years, I would agree that for people who don’t toke regularly, extra care is recommended, and just having someone else drive is never a bad idea.

    Oh, the statement, “driving stoned isn’t so bad, but many drivers mix it with alcohol…” demonstrates the problems of driving under the influence of ALCOHOL, not neccesarily marijuana.

  7. How about driving on four hours of sleep (for the fifth straight day) and a pot of coffee? How about old people? How about moms yelling at their kids? Morally, impairment in general is the issue; politically, it will always be an excuse for punishing whatever is already socially stigmatized.

    “Just tell her parents you weren’t watching her because you were chatting about the evils of drug use on the What Would Jesus Do message board. I’m sure they’ll understand…”

  8. A saliva test for Marijuana? Are you fucking crazy? Those nazis will be cramming swabs down out throats everytime we come to work, everytime we goto a concert or a school dance, every time we want to take a piss and just about any other time they want to. Marijuana is what you make of it, seek and you shall find. In America people eat when they get stoned but in other cultures, like Jamaica, marijuana is used as an anorexic. Pot is whatever you make of it. When irresponsible people smoke pot, they do stupid things, when responsible people smoke pot, they have a good time. A saliva test will abridge our rights. My spit is mine.

  9. i am all for legalizing every fucking drug under the son, because goddammit our bodies are our own, supposedly.

    but…i never get in the car with someone who’s high. impairment is impairment, and a dozen lab tests about how many fewer mistakes stoned drivers make than other impaired drivers is pretty fucking pointless.

    if the idea is to promote, even minutely, the entirely true notion that drug use does not make one a total asshole (in and of itself) not doing asshole things while using drugs, like driving, is a good first step.

  10. and drugs under the sun as well. and moon and what have you.

    and i apologize if the above seems harsh, but having nearly been killed by a stoned driver will do that to you. marijuana in particular has the terrible tendency, like alcohol, to magnify idiocy exponentially.

  11. Hey, if they get the spit test working, the smoke nazis can use to infringe on our rights too! Oh the wonders of modern science. Yippeee!!!

  12. Oh, BTW for SteveinC: If you’re driving stoned, you’re a danger. Maybe not as big a one as a drunk, but a danger nonetheless.

  13. Oh, BTW for SteveinC: If you’re driving stoned, you’re a danger. Maybe not as big a one as a drunk, but a danger nonetheless.
    Posted by not Weishaupt at December 30, 2003 01:34

    Sorry dude, if you are driving at all you are a danger. It’s an analog world and digital prejudices and belief systems may make it easier to cope but they are silly. Correlation is not causality. Just because someone was stoned does not mean that caused the accident. How about the accidents avoided because people knew they were impaired and drove more carefully? Oh, no statistics on that so I guess the chatting class can’t proscribe any new laws to impose their moral framework on other people. How about we just all take our chances out there and when something bad happens we take it on a case-by-case basis? Banning things because you are afraid there will be a bad outcome is as stupid and insane as invading a country because they may one day be a problem. It’s the “Hey, you lookin at me?” school of provocational interaction and it always ends badly for everyone.

  14. even by your reckoning – which i agree with, that driving is dangerous in and of itself, and people are easily distracted enough – making oneself more prone to distraction by being stoned makes you a greater danger. which makes you a bigger asshole, all told.

  15. “The mistakes stoners made were a result of being overly cautious.” Actually, things that go along with “being overly cautious” like looking twice, moving slower than the traffic flow, and the like are well-known hazards. The accident you have or cause by driving too slowly, or swinging wide on a turn may not be as serious as the accident you have flying drunkenly into a lamp post at 80 mph, but the classic baked driving technique is still a hazard. If you go down to your friendly neighborhood ER, I’m sure the folks who admit there can tell you stories of bad drivers who came in reeking of booze and pot.

    You might also want to ride shotgun with a cop on traffic patrol – slow drivers, drivers on well-lit residential streets driving with their brights on, and drivers who creep around corners are all assumed to be under the influence of something.

    Additionally, it’s not quite apt to draw a line between putting on make up or talking on a phone – those are activities that can be stopped in an instant.

    That said, the damn kid drowing ad makes me want to smoke a big bag o’ weed every time it airs. Who do they imagine would be moved by that schlock?

    “Let the Domino drivers smoke! All our pizzas will be free.”

  16. “Oh, BTW for SteveinC: If you’re driving stoned, you’re a danger. Maybe not as big a one as a drunk, but a danger nonetheless.”
    Posted by not Weishaupt at December 30, 2003 01:34 AM

    Aside from some TV spot with a paid actor telling us how the guy that killed his brother was driving stoned, Id like to see some hard evidence here.

    You know, like a study, a report released in a peer reviewed journal, some real hard facts. The US DOT doesnt seem to have any statistics on stoned drivers.

    How many people are killed each year from stoned drivers?? There are hard numbers for alcohol published, if weed is so dangerous why are hard numbers so hard to find? You would think there would be a hundred studies to help support the anti-marijuana cause, instead of some bogus 9 out of 10 soundbite in a TV spot. Where exactly did they get that number anyway, as I previously mentioned the DOT doesnt seem to keep track who does??

    So I will ask again, aside from anicdotes, how is Steve more dangerous on the road then a 16 year old with a sports car? Remember, we have hard numbers on 16 year olds with sports cars, and thats alot of accidents and people even die.

    Calling Steve dangerous is a great scare tactic, but if I had my choice of driving next to a stoner, a lunitic on a cell phone, a crazy kid in a vette or a drunk, ill take the stoner anyday.

  17. If pot was legal, I wouldn’t have to drive around to smoke a joint. I’d just go onto the back porch. There’s your harm reduction.

    On the other hand, I actually like the “Enforcer” ads, where the mom grounds her 13 year old looking son for smoking pot, and he says no to a joint because he doesn’t want to get grounded. 13 year olds shouldn’t smoke pot, and mothers who catch them doing it should kick their asses.

  18. Wrong, wrong, wrong. As pointed out a couple of times above, “impaired driving” is the operative term. The whole point of getting “stoned” is to impair one’s ability to reason and circumvent the process of rational thought — whether it’s done with beer, vodka, LDS, or marijuana. Anything that impairs a driver’s ability to reason increases the risk to the driver, to the passengers, and to other drivers on the road.

    So many Reason-types (and LP types) keep on carrying the torch for marijuana and other mind-altering drugs…ironic, isn’t it, that “reason” is the thing that they seek to obliterate, if only temporarily, with their pharmaceutical exploits.

  19. Why is it always hooray for drugs day here? Even if they were legal, I would still expect ads telling stupid people not do do stupid things while taking drugs. The fact that these ads are offensive to smart people will always be the case. Your argument should be against the pointlessness of PSA’s, and not whether it’s ok to drive kids around through a haze of pot smoke or other nonsense.

    Reading a newspaper while driving probably increases your knowledge of the world, but it’s a dumbass thing to do. If any moron tried to convince me that reading a paper while driving didn’t impair him any more than doing eye make-up, I’d have the same reaction as I do to all of you toked-up Andrettis – STFUASTFD. Two hand on the wheel, eyes forward and use the damn blinkers!

  20. my fav is still the two kids in the father’s study, finding the unlocked, loaded and ready-to-go handgun.

    my friend always says “i dunno about you, but i’d rather clear that bong than that chamber” when it comes on.

  21. Why is it always hooray for drugs day here?

    Jimbo – Learn to differentiate between a Thing, the Use of a Thing, the Decision to Use a Thing, and the Right to Make the Decision to Use a Thing.

  22. Impairment, whether from drugs, alcohol, cell phones, putting on make up, etc. is the problem. While I may allow that certain forms of impairment may be less severe than others, that does not mitigate against their danger to others. No science is required, only logic.

  23. It’s Hooray for Drugs Day around here, Jimbo, because people who smoke pot are in a better position than most to know exactly how wrong-headed and dishonest the ONDCP and PFADRA are.

  24. I think you all need to know the difference between pro-drug and pro-legalization. I’m all for legalization but don’t try to prove that pot is good for driving, babysitting and the 100 meter dash (substitute any other spurious claims in here).

    Joe, now I have one PSA for you (after I’ve read many of your remarks on other topics). “Pot and Posting – Just Say No!” Of course, maybe the ponytail is more responsible for your logic.

  25. I’m trying to be pragmatic here. Stoned drivers are a problem because they put other people in danger, as do sleepy or distracted drivers. I can barely handle a fucking TV remote control when I’m baked. I would never want to drive a car.

    Also, from a political point of view, the idea that people should be allowed to drive while stoned is a big fat loser. You can swear up and down about how good a driver you are when you’re stoned, but you’re not going to convince anyone that it’s a good idea.

    What I am talking about is a saliva test for CURRENT marijuana intoxication. What we have now is the pee tests that tell if you smoked up in the last few days/weeks. Pardon me, but I feel it’s far less intrusive to test drivers and safety-critical employees for current intoxication rather than past use and to do it (if possible) with some spit rather than having to take a leak. We have this sort of nonintrusive test for alcohol intoxication and nobody seems particularly outraged.

    I also feel that providing a test for current intoxication could address one of the major objections the public has to ending marijuana prohibition and move this country further toward that goal.

    (My comment about mixing pot with booze is relevant because some people use a little weed together with a “legal amount” of alcohol and are far more impaired than if they used one or the other drug. See the recent report from the Canadian Senate committee for more information on this point.)

  26. don’t try to prove that pot is good for driving, babysitting and the 100 meter dash

    Pot is not good for those things. The point is that when you smoke pot, and do those things, and no harm results, then functionally it is a non-event. If you smoke pot, and then do those things, and harm does result, then you had better be prepared to accept responsibility as an individual and not try to pass blame along to the drug.

    Some of us merely reject the vacant moralizing. Like I have said before, I’ll take my moral cues from a body I can actually trust, thanks.

  27. I can remember riding around in a car with four people so wrecked on pot that we nearly ran down an old man crossing the street in the central square in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Thank god we didn’t hit him, for his sake and ours.

    There’s so many ways to be an idiot in this world, I swear.

  28. DHEX: ….making oneself more prone to distraction by being stoned…

    SinC: What about if my pot use does NOT make me more prone to distraction? Why do you seem certain that it would, for me?

  29. The cool thing about pot is that it makes you see things as they really are.

  30. David-
    not everyone’s reason (though they may reason poorly) or ability to operate is impaired by substances-
    A few examples:
    Rush Limbaugh
    Winston Churchill
    Martin Luther
    Nietsche

    I find it fascinating that some people are able to live very, very productive lives all the while secretly or not so secretly hopped up on who knows what.

    Another interesting issue is the use of drugs to “enhance” performance, especially in the military. Supposedly, Alexander the Great had his troops taking the Opium- Hence their ability to march like the wind across the fertile crescent and into india. Germany’s shock troops on speed on the Russian front. The US’s Air force hopped up on uppers and the given lowers to get some rest- talk about operating sophisticated equipment with TREMENDOUS responsibility all the while on speed. Honestly, when I used to take nodoze and yellowjackets to stay awake to write a paper, I could barely stop itching and twitching let alone operate a 100million plane and drop precision, laser-guided bombs on people.

  31. SIC: my short answer would be that you’re obviously not doing it right.

    all joking aside, maybe distracted isn’t the right word for you. but the entire point is an alteration to your sense of self, surroundings, time, etc. this applies to a lot more than weed, obviously, but i don’t think you should be doing a rosary while driving either.

    driving is hard enough…why make it harder? it doesn’t mean being a teetotaler or a stiffnecked prig but getting stoned and driving is fucked up. especially if you give two halfs of one shit about eventual legalization – if only in a moral, sticking to principles sense.

    i’ve always had a hard sell with stoners on why i think things like the new york city pot marches – an army of stereotypes marching down a street – don’t do shit. people who passionately give a shit about this, if they do nothing else, should demonstrate with their own lives how drug use is not an obviously, tv movie of the week state for most drug users.

    maybe i’m the stiffnecked prig here.

    and i realize i say this living in a place where i haven’t had to drive in nine years. but i live here by choice, and being able to drink boilermakers until sunup and not have to worry about anything but arrest and alcohol poisoning – or maybe being killed by a subway car – is a side benefit.

    the responsible abuse of pleasure…recalling a coil sticker from long ago…

  32. The only studies I’ve seen re driving stoned have been actual driving tests. The stoners drove better than drunks and people on allergy medications. The mistakes stoners made were a result of being overly cautious. The only drivers to score better than stoners where those completely sober (and completely focused – no kids in the back, no radio channel to switch, no make-up to put on, etc).

    Seems to happen every time, yet never gets much press.

    That said, I don’t like driving stoned. That’s probably because I drive about twice a year. Driving in NYC really ruins a high.

    And another thing (another? why yes! another!): the elephant in the room is being ignored. Generally, stoners like to stay put. I bet if more people smoked pot, people wouldn’t drive as much. That would leave more room on the road for all the drunks, channel-switchers, “don’t-make-me-come-back-there”ers, and make-up-putting-oners.

  33. notWeishaupt: Oh, BTW for SteveinC: If you’re driving stoned, you’re a danger. Maybe not as big a one as a drunk, but a danger nonetheless.

    SinC: Why do you believe that?

    DAVID: The whole point of getting “stoned” is to impair one’s ability to reason and circumvent the process of rational thought — whether it’s done with beer, vodka, LDS, or marijuana.

    SinC: Who told you that? That’s certainly not the reason I get ‘stoned’. I’m not seeking impairment, I’m seeking enhancement, which I usually find.

    ALL DRUGS ARE DIFFERENT in how they affect people, myself included.

    In the past, when I used alcohol (haven’t in 11 years), it was indeed for a form of impairment/anesthesia etc. which incrementally shut down my nervous system, so not a good idea to drive on.

    In the past when I used LSD, it was for a form of enhancement….which included very altered perceptions, therefore not a good idea to drive on it.

    Oh and I was raised “LDS” (David’s misspelling….I’m recovered from that these days) and had no problems driving while impaired by the bullshit of their religous teachings….heh

  34. While Need some science might be trolling here, i think the point he/she is making is valid. Not a single scientific study has been cited to validate the ‘stoned are dangerous’ comments by what appears to be a group of people who have obviously never been high, and have fallen for the ‘reefer madness’ FUD.

    Nobody can cite any studies, just, “I know they are dangerous people”. At one time, everyone knew that the world was flat, that didnt make them right, anymore then the anecdotes being offered here is any ‘proof’.

  35. David wrote:

    “The whole point of getting ‘stoned’ is to impair one’s ability to reason and circumvent the process of rational thought — whether it’s done with beer, vodka, LDS, or marijuana. Anything that impairs a driver’s ability to reason increases the risk to the driver, to the passengers, and to other drivers on the road.”

    You’ve never been stoned, have you, David? Marijuana’s effects on reasoning are quite minor. If anything, marijuana is an enhancer which makes you more attentive to detail – hence most people’s extra care when they drive stoned. Research performed in Britain backs this up.

    “So many Reason-types (and LP types) keep on carrying the torch for marijuana and other mind-altering drugs…ironic, isn’t it, that “reason” is the thing that they seek to obliterate, if only temporarily, with their pharmaceutical exploits.”

    It’s not obliteration, but *alteration*. Saying that drugs obliterate your reason is falling into the government propaganda trap of voodoo pharmacology.

  36. I’m a pretty wound up person…god forbid I have to deal with all of the idiots on the road while NOT being stoned. I’d surely be in jail for road-rage by now.

  37. OK, just to restate the obvious: yes, driving while impaired, or babysitting while impaired, or name-your-favorite-activity-requiring-care while impaired is a bad idea, but the whole series of ads is just a damn stalking horse for continued criminalization of drugs. You think the people behind the ads honestly think there’s an epidemic of people getting stoned and letting little Susie fall into the pool, as opposed to just letting her fall in because they were generally dim?

    FWIW, I’ve taken perception-altering drugs significantly stronger than pot. Drive? Hell, I wouldn’t have trusted myself to cross the street. (Incidentally, I believe there are studies that show that in vehicle/pedestrian accidents, the _pedestrian_ is under the influence a significant amount of the time.) But you know what? I didn’t. Didn’t do anything more dangerous than wander around one floor of a building, partly because I knew it was dangerous to do much more. OTOH, a couple weeks ago I was supposed to have lunch with my father, and I completely flaked out, forgot it, and didn’t go. No drugs involved, legal or otherwise. So to hell with the prohibitionists – the real issue is personal responsibility (shades of the food story…) and they hate that because they can’t legislate it.

  38. So many Reason-types (and LP types) keep on carrying the torch for marijuana and other mind-altering drugs

    Actually, the torch is carried for the right of adults to determine on their own whether they want to use mind-altering drugs. I choose not to take my moral cues from a gov’t that has not enough presence of mind to balance a budget, nor use different colors for humanitarian rations and bomblets. I think I can do better for moral referents, thanks.

  39. The original “drowning the baby while under the influence” episode appears in John Updike’s novel Rabbit, Run (around 1960). Rabbit’s alcoholic wife accidentally drowns their baby while giving him a bath. Dragnet totally ripped off Updike.

  40. notWeis, you accurately cite the problems with excessive amphetamine use and then attempting to operate aircraft. But this thread primarily discussed marijuana use.

    To you or to Dhex, I would submit that for many people, as I said earlier, marijuana use followed by driving is a bad idea. But that doesn’t lead us to a definite conclusion that POT USE + DRIVING will always be a bad thing.

    I would submit that for many, having a current level of active THC in the system may well IMPROVE their level of safety….no joke intended…as noted by several people here in above comments, having at least some level of pot in the system helps to reduce tension and aggressive feelings commonly felt by many drivers.

    The key is for each person to be honest with themselves and then act responsibly based on this honest assessment. If you do find yourself ‘distracted’ or feeling ‘impaired’ after smoking pot (or drinking 1 beer, or taking certain medications,,,or ANYTHING), then DON’T DRIVE.

  41. For the record: I do smoke on occasion, although not as much as I used to. I would NEVER drive/work/do anything other than relax while partaking of said weed. To me this is just common sense. As for the argument that some use drugs for the enhancement provided, it sure did a great job in Afghanistan where a couple of your hopped up flyboys bombed some friendly troops on the ground. And while there may be no conclusive studies showing that drug impairment affects your ability to drive, please show me one that says it does not. Please make sure it is one that is neutral-funded, though. If you cannot I will continue to believe that impairment is impairment, regardless of the source. And I will pray that none of us ever share a road with those of you who believe otherwise.

  42. SinC: Your logic is STILL flawed. I perceive a greater level of impairment when I consume beer than when I consume liquor. However, if the amount consumed is identical (ie 1 beer= 1 1/4 oz. Vodka), then I know that my level of impairment is identical, regardless of my perception. I will say it, slowly, one last time. IMPAIRMENT IS IMPAIRMENT. IF YOU TOKE, DRINK, ETC. YOU ARE IMPAIRED. IF YOU ARE IMPAIRED YOU SHOULD NOT DRIVE. HERE ENDETH THE LESSON.

  43. The DEA has listened to all of you self-confessed pot heads and will be contacting you shortly.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    Don’t expect a phone call – there is a no-knock raid in your future.

  44. EMAIL: nospam@nospampreteen-sex.info
    IP: 203.162.3.148
    URL: http://preteen-sex.info
    DATE: 05/20/2004 10:01:13
    Just because there’s a pattern doesn’t mean there’s a purpose.

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