Explaining Southern California's economy

High driving: How stoned is too stoned to get behind the wheel?

H. Lee

Pot is produced in California but not yet legal for recreational use. If legalization does come, the law will grapple with setting standards for how long users should wait before driving.

Unlike Washington and Colorado, California hasn't yet legalized recreational marijuana use. But the day is coming when a new ballot measure is put before voters, even though the most recent legalization proposition failed in 2010.

We seem to be headed for a world in which the American West is receptive to making pot legal.  There are incentives for states to go down this road, including the ability to tax pot and avoid having to spend much enforcing anti-pot laws (in 2011, I wrote about the economics of legalizing pot).

But what should be done about pot users getting behind the wheel? 

It's against the law to drive while impaired in California, regardless of  the impairing substance — booze, pot, or other drugs.  If you get arrested for driving while stoned, it's up to a blood or urine test to determine whether there's enough THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol, the stuff in cannabis that get users high) present to prosecute.


Open Internet: President Obama's Reddit answer that Hollywood won't like

President Barack Obama answering questions on Reddit on Wednesday. Did he come out in favor of the open Internet?

As you've all probably heard, President Obama took to Reddit, the Internet discussion site, to...have an Internet discussion! Which was in no way intended to upstage Paul Ryan's Really Big Speech at the Republican National Convention. Really. In no way.

As KPCC's Tony Pierce reported earlier at our Represent! blog, Obama's arrival at Reddit actually broke Reddit, for a few minutes at least.

What was truly rather Earth-shattering, however, was his answer to the first question he was asked, from "SharkGirl":

Q: We know how Republicans feel about protecting Internet Freedom. Is Internet Freedom an issue you'd push to add to the Democratic Party's 2012 platform?

Obama's A:

Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle - and it will be reflected in the platform.


Copyright Wars: Google does what Hollywood wants

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

The Google logo is seen at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. The company has announced a change to its search rankings, intended to protect copyright.

Last week, Google announced that it's making a change — or more accurately perhaps, a modification — to its search algorithm. This is the explanation, from Google's search blog:

Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site. Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results....

Only copyright holders know if something is authorized, and only courts can decide if a copyright has been infringed; Google cannot determine whether a particular webpage does or does not violate copyright law. So while this new signal will influence the ranking of some search results, we won’t be removing any pages from search results unless we receive a valid copyright removal notice from the rights owner.