Be extra careful behind the wheel this holiday season

The holiday season has arrived once again and many people have been busy getting ready for all the merriment. From decorating to shopping, baking, cooking, cleaning and otherwise preparing for guests, all in the name of fun times that we can share with friends and family.

While we, too, enjoy many of these things, we feel we would be remiss if we didn’t again remind our readers to be careful with the level of merriment in which you partake before grabbing the reigns of your sleigh or getting behind the wheel.

We know this message has been around almost as long as Santa himself, but we bring it up again for two very good reasons:

First, no one wants to spend the holidays in the county jail, or worse yet, at the hospital, or worst of all, making funeral arrangements because someone was driving while impaired or intoxicated.

Secondly, and perhaps more notably, this year there’s an increased chance that people could be impaired or intoxicated by marijuana before getting behind the wheel.

A new law, approved by the state’s voters in the Nov. 6 general election, making possession and use of marijuana for recreational purposes went into effect Thursday. Call it an early Christmas present for proponents of the law, it will now be legal (with a number of limitations) to possess and use marijuana in limited quantities.

It’s difficult to know just how much of an uptick in marijuana use will result from the new law, but it seems safe to say there will be some.

We’re sure there will be people who have never used marijuana before who will try it now simply out of curiosity. We simply want to caution people, who might have a much better idea about the effects of alcohol on them, to think twice before getting behind the wheel after using marijuana as well as alcohol. It’s difficult to know how much certain amounts of the drug will affect you and for how long.

There are many great things about the holiday season, and enjoying a glass — or perhaps now a puff — of holiday cheer with friends is among the many options some people may choose. We simply want to encourage everyone to be as safe as possible.

— Petoskey News-Review