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OP ED: Marijuana legalization would be dangerous to drivers

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When legalizing marijuana in the state of California, it is automatic to bring up Colorado and Washington, since it is legal there.  Yet a person could also think of the old adage;  If everyone jumped off a bridge would you?

California most likely would model the legality of marijuana similar to Colorado, so let us take a look at the Colorado law (Amendment 64) recently approved by voters.  One ounce of marijuana is the allowable amount for personal use in Colorado, according to the Colorado Municipal League website.

The website also says “possessing, growing, processing or transporting no more than six marijuana plants, with three or more being matured” is legal also. According to the web site Oregon.gov, a typical plant produces half a pound to a pound of marijuana.

It is time to do the math:  according to asknumbers.com, one pound equals 16 ounces.  So if you have three plants at a pound each then you can have 48 ounces.  Can you see the conflict?   The amendment says two different things and which do you think the public is going to go with?  One ounce or 48 ounces? The more the merrier saying comes to mind.

This leads to bigger issues in the amendment.  Nowhere does it mention work rules.  You can smoke five ounces of pot before driving school children on a bus and get away with it.  Shouldn’t there be specific regulations for operating machinery or driving vehicles?  It is left up to the company to make these rules.  This means school children, riders of public transportation, and all passengers in a vehicle driven by someone else is at risk of an accident.

On the national institute on drug abuse website it states that “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths.”

According to drugfreecalifornia.com, marijuana is the leading cause of accidents in young people. There are 127 million current users of alcohol in America and, because of restrictive drug policies, only 15 million smoke marijuana. In spite of this, alcohol was only involved with 15 percent of injured drivers compared to marijuana at 26.9 percent.  Per capita, marijuana smokers cause 18 times more injury accidents than alcohol, according to drugfreecalifornia.com.

Do we want to just follow along with what the other states are doing or do we want to blaze a trail and keep people on the road safe?  Pot smoking causes many people to get hurt every year, it is just not worth the hassle to have it be legalized.

Sources:

Colorado Municipal League: http://www.cml.org/home.

asknumbers.com

national institute on drug abuse: http://www.drugabuse.gov/

drugfreecalifornia.com

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14 Responses to “OP ED: Marijuana legalization would be dangerous to drivers”

  1. Grant says:

    This authors ability as a journalist, as a mathematician and as a reasoning citizen should be questioned..
    First of all, the statistics about marijuana users being involved in a greater number of accidents is severely misleading. A smoker who smoked 3 weeks before he/she had an accident would test positive for marijuana. If alcohol metabolites were present in one’s system for a similar amount of time, nearly 70% of all people involved in accidents would test positive for alcohol.
    Second of all, anyone who has ever smoked and compared it to alcohol intoxication could tell you that marijuana has a negligible effect on driving ability, whereas alcohol SEVERELY impairs driving ability. Nonetheless, it is a drug and only a fool would drive high.
    Third, an average, home-grown cannabis plant would produce anywhere from 3-5 ounces of cured product. 1 pound is absurd for home-grown.

  2. Scott says:

    I thought this was a college page. Are you not a college student? College level papers, especially ones that will be published online, really should be held to a little higher standard of scrutiny. Your comment that the law contradicts itself is ignorant at best and absolutely destructive at worst. The law says “one ounce of USEABLE marijuana, and up to six plants. live growing plants are not useable marijuana. There is nothing contradictory and you have done exactly what everyone does that buys into the propaganda machine. You twist facts and contort information for an agenda. You purposefully omit out the word “useable” so that you can do your little “math” thing and Say, “Which is it Colorado, 1 ounce or 48 ounces?”

    Here’s a better question to ask yourself Mary Nurrenbern:

    How is it that you are actually in college?

    Now it seems I have to complete a simple math question to be able to post. I’m wondering if maybe they could implement a kind of “reading comprehension” captcha for people who actually intend to write pieces for this site.

  3. Sam says:

    Mary if you looked at the Washington law instead of outright discounting it you would see that it includes provisions for preventing driving while intoxicated.

    http://sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/initiatives/i502.pdf

    “Any person who operates a motor vehicle within this state is deemed to have given consent, subject to the provisions of RCW 46.61.506, to a test or tests of his or her breath or blood for the purpose of determining the alcohol concentration, THC concentration, or presence of any drug in his or her breath or blood if arrested for any offense where, at the time of the arrest, the arresting officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person had been driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or was in violation of RCW 46.61.503. Neither consent nor this section precludes a police officer from obtaining a search warrant for a person’s breath or blood.”

  4. Stoney Maloney says:

    Well on the bright side, being involved in an automobile accident would no doubt be stressful, so if the driver was really stoned, it would certainly help him or her through a stressful situation. ; )…

  5. I-legalized-weed-wa says:

    More hysterical bias based upon propaganda. Where is the editor at pcc? We legalized weed with an alcohol based standard. Do your research college girl

  6. Filbert Dezenex says:

    People ingesting cannabis are safer drivers than teetotalers, and far far safer than alcohol users. Terhune, Williams, et.al.
    Goodness it sure sounds scary – like some highway zombie apocalypse. Lies, and when your kids find out, you will have no more credibility.

  7. weedbay says:

    Unfortunately crops are measured on a square footage or acreage basis and not per plant. According to the DEA http://www.equalrights4all.org/LegalPros/dea92.pdf it would take a garden area of 10 to 20 square feet to account for the yield you’re basing your opinion on. Also of note the patients in the federal medical marijuana program receive in the mail 300 grams of pre-rolled joints, which is over a pound a month. Then there’s this: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/4/prweb9375729.htm – Marijuana Users Are Safer Drivers Than Non-Marijuana Users, New Study Shows.

  8. john says:

    “According to the web site Oregon.gov, a typical plant produces half a pound to a pound of marijuana.”
    This statement is simply untrue. There is no way you are getting a pound off of a pot plant. Typical plants produce 3 to 5 ounces depending on strain and growing conditions. No where close to the 16 ounces previously stated… This Op Ed is rampant with inaccurate facts off of clearly bias sources.

  9. Hi Mary

    Could you please read the following study, it will be of interest to you and those that really care about reducing road fatalities: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-11/uocd-ssm112911.php

    “Study shows medical marijuana laws reduce traffic deaths
    Leads to lower consumption of alcohol

    DENVER (Nov. 29, 2011) – A groundbreaking new study shows that laws legalizing medical marijuana have resulted in a nearly nine percent drop in traffic deaths and a five percent reduction in beer sales.

    …”

  10. joey says:

    It is illegal to drive impaired right now and it will always be illegal to drive impaired. The author is an idiot.

  11. Erin says:

    I think whoever wrote this article really don’t know what the hell they are talking about. And what John Doe says: The THC is in your system for a good month, so you can’t say someone was high while driving. BTW, I’ve been driving stone for a good 16 years, never had an accident nor a ticket, pretty good cautious driver, hell you’d never even knew I was stone! If you are concern about the children getting ahold of marijuana, then get rid of the black market, no one without ID can be allowed IN a dispensary. Unlike alcohol, which is so much easier for kids to get.
    Now you may have think you figured out the math but did you think of the difference? Such as one ounce while you are out and about NOT IN YOUR HOME! Three plants that do not grow at the same time, anyone whos smart enough and have planted would know that they would plant and different times so they’d have their ounce at different times.
    Now, whether you are against or for, this A64 is a great start to EDUCATE the public, you can’t get statistic if the gov’t puts assumptions in there. Also, its a great start for people to not only SEE what this wonderful PLANT THAT GROWS FROM GODS EARTH can do BUT you will see industrial hemp come in. A64 will bring jobs to the economy, farmers will finally have something they can make a profit from, and we could actually have something MADE IN AMERICA!
    Oh BTW, yes I know marijuana and hemp are TWO DIFFERENT PLANTS and both can do wonders! Hemp can save the world!
    So whoever wrote this, do more research and look at both sides. No one believes the lies the gov’t tells so research deeper.
    Mary Nurrenbern educate yourself before you assume, or don’t read the first link that shows up in your google search!

  12. carl says:

    i dont care if you smoke marijuana, but its a drug that impairs abilities, whether it be .01% or 100%, and to be behind the wheel or impaired and ignorantly walk across the street without knowledge of the surrounding environment you deserve to be thrown in jail. being mentally impaired by drugs is a serious issue and to simply allow it to happen is ignorant and unethical.

  13. Caroline says:

    “Per capita, marijuana smokers cause 18 times more injury accidents than alcohol, according to drugfreecalifornia.com.”

    Are you and Drug-Free whatever lobbyists for the alcohol industry?

  14. john doe says:

    The statistics are misleading. The reason marijuana is 26.8% is because the drug is traceable in your system for up to a month. So if a person smoked pot and got into an accident the next day, he would be included in the statistic.

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