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Defense lawyers told a jury in New York pot was not a factor when their teenage client crashed his car in a high-speed accident, even though he admitted to smoking the drug hours before the crash.

Joseph Beer of Queens, New York faces 25 years in prison if convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide, Newsday reported. Beer was 17-years-old in October 2012 when he crashed his Subaru Impreza while traveling at speeds exceeding 100 mph down Southern Parkway, according to CBS. The car split in two, ejecting everyone inside. Three friends Beer had known since childhood died in the crash.

Beer admitted to smoking pot a couple of hours before the crash, but his lawyers argue that pot does not affect Beer, a habitual smoker, the same way as it would affect an occasional smoker.

"If you are a frequent user, you do build up a tolerance. And the marijuana has less effect on your cognitive abilities, which are the abilities you need to drive a car," defense attorney Todd Greenberg told CBS.

As pot legalization starts gaining ground around the country, states have struggled to define what too high to drive looks like. Studies produce conflicting results on the level of impairment marijuana has on drivers. THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, can remain in high levels in the blood stream for days after use, making it difficult to test when a driver has had too much to smoke.



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  • 491 Comments
      Dave
      • 8 Months Ago
      Whether it's pot or booze, DUI is just that, DUI. He was under the influence. Throw the keys away. He killed 3.
      ddstan1120
      • 8 Months Ago
      If he was a 17 year old rich kid, he would have gotten probation. As it stands, 25 years sitting in prison isn't nearly enough for killing three of his friends, while being stupid.
      ron.schueler
      • 8 Months Ago
      What a cop out! Never take responsibility...just lie
      pasilv
      • 8 Months Ago
      Bull. There is no reason to smoke pot if you don't get a buzz on. And who cares if he was under the influence anyway? He was driving at very high speed. Unless you can prove to me that he had professional experience as a race car driver and the car was equipped to handle that speed on normal roads, he's guilty. Period.
      T Rock
      • 8 Months Ago
      When growing up in the early 70's I smoked weed every day. Everything I learned at school or at work was while stoned. Drunk driving is much worse than stoned driving but it still depends on the individual case.
      barryaclarke
      • 8 Months Ago
      Hmmm, the defense attorney stated, “if you are a frequent user, you do build up a tolerance.” I wonder if this same stupid defense could be used for a drunk driver? Either way, he was speeding and killed people because of his reckless behavior. Thus, he should go away for a long long time regardless if he used pot or was a drunk driver…………….
      • 8 Months Ago
      The lawyer should share some of the sentence for being an idiot.
      jdg1162
      • 7 Months Ago
      Anyone that has smoked pot and drank alcohol very much knows for a FACT that there is not one bit of comparison between the cognitive abilities of someone that is high on pot and someone that is drunk on alcohol. If you think there is then one....you've never done both, two...you're between the age of 80 and 100 or you're just stupid. The trend of people trying to equate the two substances are just ignorant to the whole issue.
      • 7 Months Ago
      Well most pot smokers can probably control themselves to not drive 100 mph in a car. Pot is not as bad as alchohol for sure. But if someone was both drinking alchohol and smoking pot that would be a deadly combination. It may not be the pot that contributed to this deadly accident, but just a stupid driver. Never the less to those respondents who claim they smoke pot I think that it makes you be a loser. Better off without it.
      janka51
      • 7 Months Ago
      I figured this happened in Co.
      aroldfut
      • 7 Months Ago
      Might as well get used to these excuses as more states legalize Marijuana. It won't be long before a cockpit voice recorder from a crashed airplane will reveal a cabin crew singing "Don't Bogart that joint my friend".
      • 7 Months Ago
      It's not the weed its the Beer.
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