TestCountry: How much of an impact do believe legalization would have on your business?
Kirby Lavallee: I will answer this question in two parts. The first part is from my perspective as a Law Enforcement Officer/DUI Investigator and the second part is from my perspective as a Private Investigator.
I truly believe that this would be a huge issue for Law Enforcement Officers nationwide. Most people say marijuana isn't a harsh drug and believe that it doesn't cause any issues. I can say in my experience as a Deputy Sheriff most of the street level violence is drug related, more specifically marijuana because it tends to be more readily available.
Marijuana tends to also be a gateway drug which leads to experimenting with other drugs. Many of the users over time have to increase the amount they use or use it with other drugs to get the same "high".
Marijuana legalization could be dangerous, especially when subjects impaired by marijuana get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Just as alcohol is legal it is still a major problem with people driving impaired. In my experience as a DUI Investigator and Drug Recognition Expert, I’ve dealt with hundreds of impaired drivers. Many of times the subjects who were impaired on drugs were more of a risk than those on alcohol, mostly because they didn't believe that being impaired by drugs was bad or dangerous at all.
Let me explain why. When subjects are impaired on Alcohol (a CNS depressant) they will exhibit signs such as disorientation, drowsiness, drunk like behavior, slow/sluggish reactions, thick slurred speech, fumbling, and being uncoordinated. When someone is impaired on marijuana, they will exhibit signs such as: having body tremors, being disoriented, impaired perception of time and distance, increased appetite, possible paranoia, and relaxed inhibitions. As you can see many of them are similar as with alcohol impairment. So many times, just as people feel they are OK to drive after consuming alcohol the same can be said of those who are on marijuana. Many of them don't even realize the negative effects that come along with smoking marijuana and don't realize how it affects their perception and judgment.
Also, it will be tough for law enforcement to search vehicles due to "the odor of marijuana". If marijuana is legalized law enforcement will no longer be able to search vehicles just because they smell marijuana coming from inside. The same can be said for people searches. So I believe that law enforcement will have some hurdles to cross with catching criminals with other illegal drugs which cannot be detected by smell, along with firearms and other illegal items normally found while conducting searches.
I think if more subjects are legally allowed to use marijuana, than personal injury investigations may increase, because people will be high at work while driving, and out in public. As personal injuries increase, more people will be receiving medical benefits and insurance companies will have lawsuit settlements.
Where this comes into play with private investigations is workman's’ compensation investigations and personal injury. Many insurance companies and workplaces already hire private investigators to monitor and surveil subjects who are receiving medical benefits or payouts for "alleged" injuries. It is my belief that if marijuana is legalized more people might possibly be "high" while working, therefore increasing workplace injuries.
TestCountry: How would marijuana legalization affect the court system?
Kirby Lavallee: Marijuana legalization could alleviate several cases from the court system. As it is nowadays, many court cases are possession of marijuana charges. If legalized, it would free the courts up tremendously, I believe. I know in my experience a lot of the cases that I heard while sitting in the courtroom were "possession of marijuana" "trafficking of marijuana" etc. So if these cases were no longer prosecuted they would have more time to deal with and prosecute other issues.
TestCountry: How do you believe it will affect the prison system in terms of population and other factors?
Kirby Lavallee: I think that if legalized fewer people will be incarcerated for marijuana-related crimes.
TestCountry: From your perspective, what are the pros and cons of marijuana legalization?
TestCountry: Do you believe it will eventually be legalized nationwide?
Kirby Lavallee: As we have seen in other states, it appears as though it will eventually become legal. I know in Florida they continue to fight to legalize it, which I believe they may eventually be successful at.