Alcohol, Marijuana, Dynamite, and Driving

Pot leaf

The war over impaired driving has been raging for decades now, or at least since cars, alcohol, and drugs have existed side by side. One would think that we would have reached a consensus by now on how to deal with the problem but we seem further than ever from a solution.

There are those who encourage stricter laws regarding any impairment and others who encourage that we focus mainly on the serious abusers. Each side is so entrenched in their opinion that any argument just ends up in name-calling or a tearful recital of who killed whom while driving drunk.

Perhaps we should quit talking about it. Let’s talk about the dynamite problem that once existed in the Chinese Province of Xinjiang instead.

Holiday celebrations

It seems that the good people of Xinjiang loved to celebrate their holidays. Rather than traditional fireworks, they celebrated with anything that exploded, especially firecrackers.

Of course there was the occasional mishap when someone would get a burn or a bruise from being too close to the noisemakers so people tried to be careful and keep them out of the reach of children.


Then one year a traveler from the West introduced the people of Xinjiang to something new, dynamite. It looked a lot like a firecracker but WOW! What a difference.

The first year only a few sticks were available. People stood back at a safe distance and oohed and aahed when they exploded. Dynamite was better than a string of firecrackers. The firecracker manufacturers knew they had to get busy.

The next year, there was plenty of dynamite for everyone, along with new quadruple sized jumbo firecrackers. Holidays were more exciting than ever; but then things got out of hand.


Over the next few years, several buildings were damaged or demolished, a sacred statue was destroyed, there were many injuries, and even a few deaths.

At the behest of a few Concerned Groups, the Provincial Council agreed that something needed to be done. They passed a law that everyone was permitted to have regular firecrackers but they outlawed dynamite and the bigger firecrackers outright.

The original laws worked

The next year saw a dramatic improvement. However, many people were so hooked they couldn’t resist the allure of dynamite or jumbo firecrackers. Even with the new laws, a group of young men demolished an important bridge. There were also a couple of injuries and one death, but still a dramatic improvement over previous years.

The new laws kept damage and death down. The local police began not to focus on dynamite as much. But eventually the younger generation wanted to try out the bigger and better explosive devices to celebrate the holidays. Deaths and mayhem started to rise again.

Even more laws?

The Concerned Groups were even more concerned. They decided that the problem was actually rooted in the tradition itself. Individuals and families who purchased hundreds of the legal firecrackers were creating a greater desire for dynamite. The Concerned Groups once again went before the Provincial Council.

They pressured the council to pass a law that no individual or household could possess more than 7 legal firecrackers at a time. People found with 8 or more firecrackers would be subject to the same fines and jail time as individuals caught possessing or setting off dynamite.

The firecracker police

The next year, the police began to investigate every pop of a firecracker to count the number of legal explosives each person possessed. They arrested over one thousand people who were over the limit that year. To everyone’s surprise however, dynamite damage and deaths went up. The Concerned Groups began blaming the damage and deaths on firecrackers, pointing to several incidents where firecracker accidents had caused fire or injuries. They continued their war on firecrackers.

The next year the police arrested even more people. Once again, the dynamite problem didn’t go away. Since nearly everyone was a suspect now, the police began to ignore their own rules on the rights of citizens in an effort to find law-breakers with 8 firecrackers. Arrests went up every year.

What about the dynamite?

The Concerned Groups felt encouraged by the numbers. They continued to press for more laws against firecrackers. However, the addicted few who couldn’t resist dynamite found it easier to go unspotted since they were no longer the main target.

So what happened in Xinjiang? Nobody really knows. Some say that the laws worked and people lost interest in firecrackers altogether. However, the last information anyone had was that you could still hear dynamite on holidays in Xinjiang.

What does this mean to you?

The moral of this tale is this; the casual drink, the occasional joint, and even your allergy pills are “firecrackers.” In an effort to find you guilty of driving while impaired, police may ignore due process and your other constitutional rights. They may even judge you impaired when no impairment exists. That marijuana you smoked last week will show up in tonight’s blood test for instance.

If you are arrested for DUI, you need the protection of an experienced DUI attorney. If your arrest involves marijuana however, then you need an attorney that understands the science involved in order to invalidate the blood test or any other evidence against you.

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