For vehicle drivers, the new rule may come as a blessing.
Passengers in the state of California will soon be banned from smoking cannabis in any moving vehicle, although drinking alcohol is still A-OK.
Although passengers in standard moving vehicles like cars, trucks and vans were already prohibited from toking at the wheel, there were exceptions for vehicles like taxis, limos, campers, residential vehicles, pedicabs and party buses.
But now legislators have opted to put an end to the exemption for passengers of the aforementioned vehicles, despite its legal status in the state having rendered it a popular party drug for Californians.
Some cannabis enthusiasts and business owners believe the new regulations, which amend state Senate Bill 625, are not only unfair and impractical, they may negatively affect the state’s burgeoning cannabis tourism business. That business includes bus tours similar to those offered by California’s wineries, which often involve tastings en route to wine-related hotspots.
“I would say the rules and regulations for cannabis have been rolled out in ways that can be seen as not fair, for sure. On the other side, I do understand that you know cops and enforcement need to be able to tell if someone is driving and smoking because that is unsafe,” Laythen Martines, owner of Sundial Collective in Redding, Calif., told KRCR News.
For drivers of formerly exempted vehicles, however, the new rule may come as a blessing. Although some cannabis lovers cite the fact that alcohol consumption will still be permitted as hypocritical, drivers are not forced to inhale second-hand fumes from the drug in its liquid form, and do not risk second-hand intoxication from a potentially hotboxed work environment.
Although compromises such as protecting drivers of exempted vehicles in a sealed compartment have been considered, the state has, ultimately, opted to ban cannabis smoking entirely.
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Written by Emma Spears