Marijuana opponents like Kevin Sabet have tried very hard to scare Americans into thinking that marijuana reform inevitably will lead to death on our public roads. ‘Just imagine all of the stoned drivers making our roads unsafe for the rest of society’ was something I heard a law enforcement official claim leading up to Oregon’s marijuana legalization victory. Those arguments are going to be much harder to make now that a new federal report shows that marijuana use does not make you more likely to be involved in an automobile crash. Per Think Progress:
A study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concludes that driving after smoking marijuana does not make you more likely to get into a car crash — especially when compared to driving after alcohol consumption.
Researchers studied 9,000 drivers over the past year to examine marijuana’s impact on driving. Although 25 percent of marijuana users were more likely to be involved in a car crash than people who did not use the drug, gender, age, and race/ethnicity of marijuana users were considered, demographic differences actually contributed substantially to crash risk. Younger drivers had a higher crash rate than older ones, and men crashed more than women.
On the other hand, drivers who consumed alcohol were significantly more likely to crash. Those with a 0.08 percent breath alcohol level crashed four times more than sober drivers, and people with a 0.15 percent level were 12 times more likely to crash.
It’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, for Kevin Sabet to spin this one. Of course, if you are a responsible marijuana consumer then you are not driving after/while consuming marijuana anyways. But even for those that do, they don’t pose a crash risk to other motorists. If marijuana opponents really want to protect roadways, and aren’t simply trying to stick to a debunked political talking point, they will refocus their efforts on alcohol. Or from what it sounds like from the report referenced above, maybe they should try to outlaw younger male drivers?