Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez had an interesting journalist-as-subject piece in that paper on Wednesday—an enviable assignment for some reading this post, no doubt. Lopez was asked by Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich to help determine whether, and to what degree, marijuana use affects one’s ability to drive a vehicle. The idea was that if Proposition 19 passes in California next month—effectively making using and growing marijuana legal—there would be more people driving under the influence of the drug. The city wanted to know if that would cause further traffic problems in a city famed for them.

And so, under the supervision of the police and the influence of a bud called “Train Wreck”—which website Mary Jane’s Garden notes is “renowned for its potency”—Lopez got behind the wheel for the sake of journalism and the citizenry.

Some highlights:

“There you go, Cheech,” said KABC radio host Peter Tilden, a fellow volunteer. Tilden was smoking something called Blockhead, which I presume is a standard choice among talk show hosts….

…Two brave representatives of the CHP accompanied us, Nelms and officer J. Leffert. Well, here we go, I thought, lighting a stick of Train Wreck with the cops looking on. From the bluff, I could see “Nooch” Trutanich and company assembled in the distance, with an L.A. Fire Department paramedic unit waiting in case something went horribly wrong.

A few hits later, I suggested to Tilden that we roll a vehicle, come out holding our necks, sue everyone and retire, but that was the dope talking. Tilden had forgotten his rolling papers, so I gave him my Bob Marley wrappers and Officer Leffert expertly rolled a fat one for him.

“What are you, Rastafarian?” Tilden asked the officer. “Look at the size of that blunt.”

Eventually, the experiment showed it’s probably not best to drive while high.

“They both show impairment across the board,” Sgt. Nelms announced after we were put through another round of field sobriety tests.

Trutanich seemed pleased with the findings, but I think more research could be useful. Dude, I didn’t even get a chance to dip into my bag of Skywalker.

Call me any time, Nooch. I’ll do it for science.
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Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.