Gov. Baker pushing for passage of impaired driving bill

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker is urgently trying to pass a bill that will treat alcohol and drugs the same way when it comes to driving under the influence.

Gov. Baker said there’s even greater urgency now that the Cannabis Control Commission proposed social marijuana consumption lounges. The CCC approved regulations last month to license establishments where adults could consume marijuana in a social setting.

However, the governor wants the CCC to hold off on cannabis cafes until they’ve addressed the impaired driving problem. Baker’s bill would allow law enforcement to test and punish all impaired driving the same way. 22News spoke with local police who said driving high affects drivers the same way as driving drunk.

“Your reaction time is cut down,” said Chicopee Police Officer Mike Wilk. “You don’t see things as quickly as you would if you were not impaired. You don’t have the time to change lanes, to slow down, to stop when you’re impaired. It takes away everything you have to operate that vehicle in a safe way. “

Under Baker’s bill, an OUI cannabis suspect who refuses a chemical test would lose their license for at least six months, the same penalty as a suspected drunk driver who refuses a breathalyzer.

There would also be an open container cannabis law. Prohibiting loose or unsealed packages of marijuana in a vehicle.

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