Today, Oregon voters legalized the recreational use of marijuana to take effect in 2015. Regardless of how you feel about this change; proponents and opponents can both agree that it is vital for people to act responsibly. Although marijuana has different properties than alcohol, the use of marijuana still impairs a person’s senses and diminishes their judgment. Driving high can be just as dangerous as driving drunk.
Just because the laws of recreational use have changed does not mean that other laws affecting intoxicated activity have relaxed. Police officers can still pull over a “high” driver for driving under the influence of intoxicants. Employers can still screen their employees to see if they are “fit” to perform. How the various laws will interact is yet to be seen; but users and non-users alike should keep safety as a top priority. You wouldn’t let your drunk friends drive home, why wouldn’t you do the same for high friends?
Everyone knows how to tell when someone may be drunk and the precautions to take to keep everyone safe. However, the signs and symptoms of marijuana use are not as frequently discussed. Knowing these symptoms can help you keep friends and loved ones out of danger. The symptoms of marijuana use include: red or bloodshot eyes, lethargy, excitement, paranoia, anxiety, increased appetite, memory impairment, difficult concentration, hallucination, and delusion.
If you suspect someone is engaging in dangerous behavior while high, take safety precautions to avoid getting into a bad situation. This is especially true for people who work around dangerous and heavy equipment/machinery. Working in hazardous environments requires everyone to bring their “A-game”. A co-worker who isn’t “totally there” can cause life-threatening injuries to themselves and co-workers. Don’t feel bad for bringing your suspicions to an employer, just because something may be legal does not mean that it cannot be abused. You could very well save someone’s life.
The consequences of this legislation will be interesting. Regardless of what will happen in the future, we encourage everyone to live life responsibly.