Marijuana legalization hit stone walls in New York and New Jersey this week and another effort died in New Hampshire. In Vermont, legislation to establish a commercial marijuana market faltered, too. Four states failed. Tiny windows of opportunity may still be open, but passing bills doesn’t appear possible before the end of this year’s legislative session.
Amy Dickinson writes a syndicated column for a number of newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. This question and answer appeared in the April 6, 2017 editions. The marijuana lobby wrote a book, Marijuana is Safer, full of misinformation. We believe it’s important to publish this message from the Ask Amy column.
Dear Amy: I have a 25-year-old granddaughter who will call a taxi or use a designated driver if she is going to be drinking, but she thinks it’s fine to smoke pot and get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
I have told her that she is probably more impaired after smoking pot then if she had a couple of drinks.
She totally disagrees. I have spoken to other pot smokers, and a lot of them agree with her.
How can I get her to understand the severe consequences that could happen to herself or some innocent person if she drives impaired?
Dear Frustrated: I shared your question with a spokesperson with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has published studies on this.
Their response: “There seems to be a common misperception — that people can compensate (and in fact drive more slowly than normal) under the influence of marijuana. But the research says something different — marijuana increases your risk of being in a car crash about two-fold, and also increases your risk of being at fault for the accident.”
“These effects are not as dramatic as the effects of alcohol (which increases your risk about five-fold at the 0.08 legal limit), but the combination of the two — marijuana and alcohol — is even worse than either one alone.”
That last point is important. If your granddaughter is using alcohol and marijuana at the same time (as many people do), she should not drive.
Editor’s Note: The number of fatal crashes — especially in the states of Washington and Colorado — caused by THC-impaired drivers suggests that NORML and Marijuana Policy Project need to issue warnings against marijuana and driving.