The District Attorney for St. Clair County joined other D.A.’s who signed a letter opposing the passing of the state’s medical marijuana bill. Despite their efforts, Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law on Monday.
While St. Clair D.A. Lyle Harmon has his personal and professional concerns for the legalization of medical marijuana in Alabama, he made it clear he will perform his job to enforce the law despite how he feels.
However, Harmon shared some of his concerns over the new bill signed by Ivey.
He believes that medical marijuana will help some people, and is all for those people getting the help they need.
“If it can help them, I am all for it,” he said.
However, he worries people are going to abuse the new law and take advantage of it for their own personal consumption, which could lead to more harm down the road. He also believes marijuana, along with alcohol, is a gateway drug to more extreme options.
“The biggest issue is we have a serious drug problem not only in the county but in the country as well,” Harmon said. “I would say 90 percent of the crime we prosecute is connected to drugs in some way.”
He worries about the safety of drivers in St. Clair County, as marijuana has become increasingly involved in driving under the influence cases. Harmon recited statistics from the Alabama Department of Forensic Science, which now says that marijuana is involved in more DUI cases than alcohol itself.
With marijuana becoming more frequent in the state, he is worried these numbers are only going to worsen with drivers who choose to smoke and get behind the wheel. This is further added with his belief that there is no sure-fire way to determine impairment driving while high.
“How do we determine impairment now with marijuana?” Harmon said. “There is no sufficient way to declare impairment.”
The last thing Harmon wants to do is have to result to blood testing drivers for marijuana in DUI cases, saying it would be highly “intrusive.”
Despite his beliefs and concerns, Harmon is moving on and will enforce the law that is put in place by the Alabama state government.
“I am not crying over spilled milk,” Harmon said.