Everyone has to have faith in something or somebody.
I have faith in the actuaries who work for insurance companies. If they say women should have lower rates for life insurance than men, then I know women live longer than men on average. If they base car insurance rates on zip codes, then I know zip codes are valid determinants of risk that a car will be stolen or damaged.
The other day, I saw a commercial for State Farm Insurance, and the targeted demographic audience was clearly marijuana smokers. The young woman at the center of the commercial appears to be stoned on pot, and has little vocabulary other than “Whoa,” which she says when Bob Barker, and later a car, magically appear. I’m obviously not the demographic they are looking for; I’m so square, I didn’t even know Bob Barker was hep.
Obviously, the insurance company considers marijuana smokers to be a desirable demographic group, and believes it is profitable to sell car insurance to them. But here in Wisconsin, we are so far behind the times, it is actually against the law to drive a motor vehicle with any detectable trace of marijuana in one’s blood — Sec. 346.63(1)(am).
In State v. Smet, 2005 WI App 263, 709 N.W.2d 474, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that no proof of impairment was required to support the conviction, just the trace amount.
Given how long marijuana stays in the system, the targeted demographic of State Farm is effectively committing a crime whenever they drive, impaired or not.
Like I said, you’ve got to have faith in something. I have faith in the insurance companies, not the State. It is high time (pun intended) that the law makes actual impairment an element of this “crime.”
Look for more from The Dark Side on David Ziemer’s new blog. Coming to wislawjournal.com.