In 2016, Massachusetts became the first state east of the Mississippi River to legalize adult-use cannabis. Five years later, we have fallen asleep at the wheel when it comes to updating the state’s ineffective OUI laws against drugged driving.
A dozen state legislatures, including Rhode Island next door, have already enacted tougher laws and penalties surrounding this issue — some before their first legal pre-roll is ever sold. Let us not hold the dual distinction of being the first East Coast state to implement a secure, thoughtfully regulated cannabis industry, but last when it comes to safeguarding roadways and protecting motorists from the dangers of cannabis-impaired and drugged drivers.
As a cannabis industry regulator, I appeared before the Massachusetts Legislature’s Judiciary Committee in December and testified in my individual capacity in full support of H. 4255, “An Act implementing the recommendations of the Special Commission on Operating Under the Influence and Impaired Driving,” also known as the Trooper Thomas Clardy Law. The bill is named in honor of a trooper who was killed in 2016 during a traffic stop on the Mass Pike by a motorist who was found to have the main psychoactive component of marijuana (THC) in his blood at the time.