Marijuana is widely used and is being legalised and decriminalised around the world, but riders are warned that it is still illegal to ride high.
In Australia, weed is our most common illicit drug and our nation is one of the highest users with about 750,000 smoking it daily.
Possession of small amounts now attracts only minor charges in Australia, but it is legal for medicinal and scientific purposes.
It is decriminalised for personal use inSouth Australia, ACT and the Northern Territory.
Most USA states have legalised or decriminalised marijuana. (See details at the end of this article).
It is legal in South Africa, Spain and Uruguay, decriminalised in many more and legal for medical use in 14.
This is important for motorcycle riders as it means some motorists may be driving high and even less aware of us.
How dope makes riders dopey
It is also important for riders to know the affects on your riding skills of smoking dope.
The American Motorcycle Safety Foundation has introduced a marijuana awareness kit to show the effects of the drug.
The MSF says marijuana “tends to distort perception of time, space, and speed” making it dangerous for riders, as well as illegal.
“This is especially true for motorcycle riders, who must continually make detailed assessments of complex traffic situations and make split-second decisions requiring precise rider input to navigate safely and maintain an adequate safety margin,” the organisation says.
They previously produced an alcohol awareness kit which includes “beer goggles” that replicate the effects of being drunk.
The new kit includes “grass goggles”, but the MSF admits they cannot truly replicate the effects of a marijuana “high”.
“But the unique way in which it distorts perceptions causes some impairments,” they say.
“The participant then needs to attempt to compensate for these impairments to complete the kit’s activities. Because the impairments are in the same general areas of cognition and motor skills affected by marijuana, the participant can get a sense of the challenges a ‘high’ driver or motorcyclist would face when dealing with traffic situations.”
The “Riding Straight” marijuana awareness kit is available at MSF’s online store (msf-usa.org) for $US379 ($A500).
Marijuana in the USA
Currently 23 US states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana for medical use: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Eight states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) plus DC allow it for recreational use by adults 21 and over.
In other states, use and possession charges have been reduced to a misdemeanour or civil infraction.
The MSF points out that it is still not legal, safe, or wise to operate a motorbike while high.