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posted by n1 on Wednesday September 03 2014, @10:46PM   Printer-friendly
from the ridin'-dirty dept.

As states liberalize their marijuana laws, public officials and safety advocates worry that more drivers using the drug will lead to a big increase in traffic deaths. Now The Guardian reports that it appears that unlike alcohol, drivers using marijuana tend to be aware that they are impaired and try to compensate by driving slowly, avoiding risky actions such as passing other cars, and allowing extra room between vehicles. In Washington State, there was a jump of nearly 25% in drivers testing positive for marijuana in 2013 – the first full year after legalization – but no corresponding increase in car accidents or fatalities. When adjusted for alcohol and driver demographics, a study by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation found that otherwise sober drivers who tested positive for marijuana were slightly less likely to have been involved in a crash (PDF) than drivers who tested negative for all drugs. “We were expecting a huge impact,” says Eduardo Romano, lead author of the study, “and when we looked at the data from crashes we’re not seeing that much.”

But another recent study that used similar data to assess crash risk came to an opposite conclusion. When Columbia University researchers compared drivers who tested positive for marijuana in a roadside survey with state drug and alcohol tests of drivers killed in crashes, they found that marijuana alone increased the likelihood of being involved in a fatal crash by 80% (PDF). But because the study included states where not all drivers are tested for alcohol and drugs, a majority of drivers in fatal crashes were excluded, possibly skewing the results. Also, the use of urine tests rather than blood tests in some cases may overestimate marijuana use and impairment. “We see the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington as a wake-up call for all of us in highway safety,” says Jonathan Adkins. "We don’t know enough about the scope of marijuana-impaired driving to call it a big or small problem.

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  • (Score: 2) by velex on Thursday September 04 2014, @02:50AM

    by velex (2068) on Thursday September 04 2014, @02:50AM (#89179) Journal

    * the word "marijuana" was not a part of the US vocabulary before 1936 when the news papers, primarily those run by Hearst, started running articles about a dangerous plant being brought into the US by Mexican immigrants. It was reported to make make Mexicans and Black disrespectful and violent towards whites and would even make a white woman want to have sex with black. The general public was of course shocked about the "devil weed" and supported efforts to control it, while they went right on taking a Hemp tincture (hemp extract in alcohol) that was the most widely prescribed over the counter medicine in the US at the time and considered to be quite safe.

    Yes. This is correct. I'd like a citation on the hemp tincture part, though. I'm not familiar with that aspect, but I wouldn't doubt it. However, it's certain that cannabis prohibition is deeply steeped in 1930s racism, and the red scare gave oomph to the reactionary element in USA culture after the failure of the Vietnam "war" to turn an illegal substance nobody cared about into a full-scale war to incarcerate as many people as possible. Eh, but it's probably preaching to the choir.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 04 2014, @06:35AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 04 2014, @06:35AM (#89218)

    I put Bud and Jack Daniel (pint) together and forgot them (he he, stoner) for two weeks. Bud ran out; then I found Mr Bud Daniel. Drank the Daniel first night. WOW... so nice. Didn't want to rape anybody; kill anybody; love anybody. Just wanted to mello yello. Day later Bud was dry (sober) got rolled by JB. Man I never met a flavor like that. Jack Daniel and Mary Jane married in the glass of a pint bottle.

    It's just sad that I will never experience that again. (By choice; need what little brain cells I have left to keep my heart going.)

    PS: Jack Daniel Family, you need to rethink your sales in WA and CO.

    Signed: Stoner Hippie