Is it me?  Or is anyone else smelling marijuana wherever you go on the SouthCoast?

I was walking into Walmart a few months ago, when my 10-year-old boy asked me, "What's that funny smell, Dad?" I told him that it was the smell of a form of drugs, and if he ever smelled that at a party (or anywhere else) when he was older...he should call me.

Since that day, I've been out with my family countless times when my son recognized the smell again. It's come to the point where I almost expect to smell weed emanating from the car next to us when I pull up to a red light. "There is it again, Dad," my son said last night as we trailed a car on 195. "Should we call the police?" he asked.

I understand that the laws on possession of marijuana have loosened significantly in the past several years. Smoking marijuana for both medical and recreational reasons has become more and more accepted by the mainstream here in Massachusetts than ever before. Heck, I read reports from NBC News over the weekend that even President Trump is leaning towards supporting Senator Elizabeth Warren's bill that would "protect legal marijuana activities in states (like Massachusetts) that have approved the drug."

I just feel like we need to somehow keep some level of order when it comes to smoking marijuana in public. People aren't allowed to drink a Bud Light walking into Walmart, so they shouldn't be able to smoke weed in the Walmart parking lot. Drivers aren't allowed to drink and there needs to be enforcement on getting baked, then getting behind the wheel to drive. It's a matter of public safety. I know there are laws in place, but they don't seem to be enthusiastically enforced.

This has been a very real problem in Colorado, another state where it's legal to recreationally use marijuana. According to the Denver Post, a majority of Colorado's marijuana users admit to getting behind the wheel in the past 30 days less than two hours after smoking the drug. While fatalities due to drinking and driving continue to far outweigh the numbers to their cannabis counterpart, it is much easier to accurately test whether someone is over the legal limit for alcohol.

I think we need to get out ahead of this problem before we see a grave spike in the numbers of fatal accidents involving drivers who are smoking marijuana. The smoke is out of the bottle. Marijuana is now a legal part of life in Massachusetts. We now need to deal with the consequences. It could be you...or an innocent member of your family...who pays the price for our newfound tolerance of smoking and driving.

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