Any attempt to segue into this post with a clever lead is likely to fall flat, so in the interest of skipping the cliches: a new study out of University of Colorado Denver and Montana State University shows that legalizing medical marijuana sales in various states over the past two decades has led to a nearly 10 percent drop in traffic fatalities. What the study really shows--by way of causal chain--is a five percent drop in beer sales, and that has in turn led to fewer fatalities on the road. Put that in your pipe and smoke it (couldn't resist just one).
This is the kind of study that's going to be attacked from all sides, by those with agendas and those who will simply point out that establishing that causal link between legalized pot and the decrease in alcohol sales (and in turn the reduced traffic deaths) is difficult with all the variables out there. But it is an interesting study for no other reason than it actually attempts to measure the effects of legalizing pot by linking it to some kind of hard data rather than some hard-to-quantify metric.
That, of course, is traffic data, of which we have plenty. Traffic data is bountiful and generally pretty good because incidents on the road--particularly those that involve injury or fatality--very rarely go unnoticed by authorities, who are required to dutifully record them in the public record. So Daniel Rees of UC Denver and D. Mark Anderson of MSU started looking at the traffic data both nationwide and more particularly in the 13 states that legalized marijuana for medical use between 1990 and 2009.
They found several connections and trends that seemingly stem from the legalization laws, but most notably they found evidence that alcohol consumption by 20- to 29-year-olds decreased, and that translated into fewer deaths on the road. Previous simulator studies have shown that drinkers tend to drive more aggressively and take more risks, while marijuana users tilt toward risk-averse behaviors. Notably, they also found that in the states that legalized marijuana there was no evidence of an uptick in use among minors, which is a major concern for the medical marijuana opposition.
To be fair, establishing these kinds of links is still difficult as variable abound and the data is sometimes difficult to trust. Common sense (experience?) tells us that kids smoking pot generally don't go around telling adults about it, including those conducting academic research. So establishing whether or not more or fewer kids are getting high is more or less an exercise in guesswork. And Rees and Anderson point out that while alcohol is often consumed in public places marijuana is consumed privately, often in the home. So making marijuana use a publicly acceptable activity for all people--not just those with a medical necessity--might diminish the reduction in traffic fatalities as more stoney drivers get behind the wheel.
But things being what they are, medical marijuana laws appear to be trending toward safer roadways, and that's all this study purports to demonstrate. Place whatever value on that you will. PopSci would like to point out that this post does not constitute an opinion either for or against the legalization of medical marijuana, and Rees's and Anderson's findings are just, like, their opinions, man.
Well written article. I really dig your style, man!
I find it funny that people find it ok to get drunk because its "legal" but weed a terrible thing ONLY because its "illegal" ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant
true that. alcohol related deaths account for most of car accidents. weed accounts for maybe none lol. i find it funny how when one is high on weed they much rather relax and not drive while when ones drunk you are more likely to do stupid/risky stunts.
The people of the world only divide into two kinds, One sort with brains who hold no religion, The other with religion and no brain.
- Abu-al-Ala al-Marri
A drug is only as dangerous as you'll let it be. If marijuana opens you up to try other more harmful substances that will cause serious harm to yourself and others, you shouldn't be toking. If you can't stop yourself at the limit of alcohol consumption bordering loss of rational thought, verbal communication, and psychomotor skills, you don't need to consume alcohol. PERIOD.
Rock on, I'm liking this article and the posts to follow. For a while pro-marijuana people have been crying out that pot is much safer than alcohol, and now there's proof that it goes beyond medical reasons. It may be a far cry, but I hope this study hits hard in the movement to legalize the stuff, I'd take a natural substance over something man-made any day of the week.
Wow! A chain reaction! Very well written article, and interesting to know that weed actually did something even a little good.
Right now there are a few states that are trying to get Marijuana Legalized for recreational use. Missouri, Washington, California, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado. It seems clear that the country is moving very quickly to Legalization of Marijuana for recreational purposes.
Many people assume that marijuana was made illegal through some kind of process involving scientific, medical, and government hearings; that it was to protect the citizens from what was determined to be a dangerous drug.
The actual story shows a much different picture. Those who voted on the legal fate of this plant never had the facts, but were dependent on information supplied by those who had a specific agenda to deceive lawmakers. You’ll see below that the very first federal vote to prohibit marijuana was based entirely on a documented lie on the floor of the Senate.
You’ll also see that the history of marijuana’s criminalization is filled with:
Protection of Corporate Profits
Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or Corrupt Legislators
Personal Career Advancement and Greed
These are the actual reasons marijuana is illegal.
Again, racism was part of the charge against marijuana, as newspapers in 1934 editorialized: “Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at a white woman twice.”
Two other fear-tactic rumors started to spread: one, that Mexicans, Blacks and other foreigners were snaring white children with marijuana; and two, the story of the “assassins.” Early stories of Marco Polo had told of “hasheesh-eaters” or hashashin, from which derived the term “assassin.” In the original stories, these professional killers were given large doses of hashish and brought to the ruler’s garden (to give them a glimpse of the paradise that awaited them upon successful completion of their mission). Then, after the effects of the drug disappeared, the assassin would fulfill his ruler’s wishes with cool, calculating loyalty.
By the 1930s, the story had changed. Dr. A. E. Fossier wrote in the 1931 New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal: “Under the influence of hashish those fanatics would madly rush at their enemies, and ruthlessly massacre every one within their grasp.” Within a very short time, marijuana started being linked to violent behavior.
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
“Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”
“You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”
“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”
Harry J. Anslinger
Some samples from the San Francisco Examiner:
“Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days — Hashish goads users to bloodlust.”
“By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him….”
And other nationwide columns…
“Users of marijuana become STIMULATED as they inhale the drug and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are laid to users of that drug.”
“Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim’s life in Los Angeles?… THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country today are committed by DOPE SLAVES — that is a matter of cold record.”
William Randolf Hearst
Hearst and Anslinger were then supported by Dupont chemical company and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis. Dupont had patented nylon, and wanted hemp removed as competition. The pharmaceutical companies could neither identify nor standardize cannabis dosages, and besides, with cannabis, folks could grow their own medicine and not have to purchase it from large companies.
This all set the stage for…
The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
Beer sales went down 5%, but I wonder what what the increase in Doritos sales was?
"It is well-established that alcohol increases accident risk. Evidence of marijuana's culpability in on-road driving accidents is much less convincing. Although cannabis intoxication has been shown to mildly impair psychomotor skills, this impairment does not appear to be severe or long lasting. In driving simulator tests, Cannabis impairment is typically manifested by subjects decreasing their driving speed and requiring greater time to respond to emergency situations. Nevertheless, this impairment does not appear to play a significant role in on-road traffic accidents."
somewhat off topic but on topic: in a recent interview netwgringrich said he is opposed to medical marioujina and legalizing weed becuase he talked too too many mothers that do not want their kids to think the governments thinks it is okay to smoke weed...
yet they all go home and have a drink!
This is only surprising if you haven't been paying attention. It's simply a fact that cannabis impairment is much, MUCH less dangerous than alcohol impairment. Having a B.A.C. of 0.08 (i.e. right at the legal limit for driving) increases your risk of an accident 11-fold. (And driving while texting evidently increases your risk of an accident 23-fold. Take the Oprah pledge!) In contrast, there was a recent study that purported to show that cannabis use made you 2.7 times more likely to be involved in an accident. (Of course, the headlines breathlessly reported that marijuana "more than doubles" your risk of an accident - without giving any of the above context.) It's also known that alcohol, as a disinhibitor, INCREASES risk-taking behavior. People who are impaired by alcohol frequently don't recognize their own impairment and often drive FASTER while under the influence, which is one of the reasons that accidents caused by alcohol impairment so often result in fatalities. People who relax with cannabis are much more likely to recognize their own impairment and either refuse to drive or adequately compensate for their impairment (which is consistent with the simulator studies mentioned in the article). The fact is that alcohol is a HUGE contributor to vehicle accident fatalities and cannabis use just isn't. And, as the articles notes, alcohol and cannabis are SUBSTITUTES. I've talked to many, many people who have reported that their alcohol consumption dropped dramatically after they began enjoying cannabis. (It certainly tracks my own experience.) And not only is cannabis far safer from a driving perspective, it's infinitely safer than alcohol by EVERY objective measure. Cannabis is non-toxic. It's literally impossible to fatally overdose on cannabis. Alcohol is most definitely toxic. People can and do die from alcohol overdose. Alcohol abuse is the third-leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. (It turns out that drinking poison isn't good for you.) In contrast, cannabis use is not associated with increased mortality. Alcohol is physically addictive. You can be so addicted to alcohol that you will literally die from withdrawal. Cannabis isn't. If you want to talk about "psychological addiction," be my guest, but let's all at least acknowledge that there's no cannabis equivalent of delirium tremens. And (I think most importantly) alcohol is a MASSIVE contributor to violence. It's involved in something like half of all violent crimes and 70% of domestic abuse cases. In contrast, cannabis use has never been linked to violence. If anything, it DECREASES the risk of violence by pacifying the user. While they can be overstated, there's a reason we have the stereotypes of the "belligerent drunk" and the "mellow stoner." I know which one I prefer to be around. But hey, I'm just a stupid "pothead." What do I know? Maybe the prohibitionists are right. Maybe we SHOULD be spending billions of dollars every year in borrowed money to lock non-violent people in government cages for the "crime" of possessing dried plant matter.
Meh, just legalize and tax the hell out of it. It's a win win situation.
Are you a fan of Dorito's?I'm not.But the sales have gone up according to the amount of Doritos my brother has eaten.
I don't remember the name of who did the study but it was done in CA I am pretty sure. It basically said that if Mary Jane was made legal and taxed by 4% we would be out of debt nationaly with in 4 years and with in 10 years we would have a surplus like we ha never seen. Crime rates woudl be at an all time low and un employement would be under 2%...This study basically reinforced the fact that Mary Jane would have a harder time becoming legal because it would not allow the people up top to stay in control as easy as they do now...I do not speak as "one of those people" I speak as a red blooded pissed off America that just wants to stop being poor and get high and be happy!! Is that really so much to ask!! Oh yeah not to mention how many livers would be saved!!!! SAVE THE LIVERS POEPLE SAVE THE LIVERS!!!!!!....ALSO How many people do you see beating their wifes and children high thats right 0 you just don't do it. YOu don't get flat out stoned and go home and beat the crap out of your wife and kids....its not a proven fact its just the way it is...legalize mary jane and the world will simply be a better place.
Another example: Euro 2000 Soccer (Football) Championships were co-hosted by Belgium and Holland. Belgium (cannabis illegal) was plagued by drunken hooligans and violence while the Dutch (cannabis tolerated) games were peaceful and without violence altogether. Proof is in the pudding.
I just love that the biggest arguement that people have against is that "its bad" lol When you ask why all they have to say is "its just bad" lol freaking people I love asking people that are all hard core against legalizing it if you were confranted with a person that had severe cancer and mary jane made there lives better made them with out pai nand able to eat... you would tell them they can't have it you would tell them to suffer...you would say this to their face...yeah right I would love t osee that....if you would you are a peice of shit...and deserve hell and beyond...
If people weren't lazy shitakes, your 'fabulous' country wouldn't be in debt. Instead of getting high and frying your memory (probably non-existent anyway?) from use of weed and alcohol, you should be spending QUALITY time with your family - they aren't around forever 'ya know? - or doing something useful for society like finding cures to ailments or developing new technologies. By using drugs, all you are doing is damaging your bodies, brains and the future success of your 'fabulous' country. Sure, smoking weed may 'only' double your risk of crashing (I know, you didn't say it....) by a factor of 2.7, but this is still a lot more than the factor of 1 for when you are completely sober. By drinking alcohol or smoking weed then operating ANY machinery, you are placing yourself and OTHER PEOPLE in unnecessary risk. People could lose their lives - their families would be distraught - just because you want to 'get high and be happy'. You don't need to get high to be happy. It is 100% YOUR OWN FAULT if you are not happy. You should have WORKED HARDER at school. A wise man once said 'being poor gives you no excuse to show any substantial lack of class, pride and cleanliness.'
You sir are the reason that your country is such a failure.
For the record I'd like to know who this 'wise man' was who said that because I copy and pasted your 'quote' into Google and it's nowhere to be found. Aren't quotes supposed to be just that? Verbatem?
less road rage and calmer drivers? LOL funny but true.
lol dquad sounds like you need to smoke up some bro...you seem to of missed the point entirely my point had zero to do with anything you said but good try and bashing me and pretty much no point that I was making...the point that I was making is that we make laws to keep the rich rich and the poor poor and keep weed illegal is one of them...but go ahead with your pointless rant and argue a point that no one is making have fun talking to your self....you know they make pills for that
I wonder where you are from, that you can critique my country from afar?
You make a lot of claims, but I will just point out that if you listen to Rock, most of it was composed written, recorded and performed while under the influence of pot.
Holland, (more correctly called the Netherlands), has conducted numerous studies which have shown the tolerence of pot actually curtails its use in adults over the age of 25. In countries where there are legal penalties for possession or use, the incidence of use in people over 25 continues well past the age of 50.
Just because you don't like to drink or smoke or whatever, don't foist your preferences on the rest of us.
Drug companies regularly produce so called theraputic drugs that are later found to be harmful or lethal. There is even a new class of prescription medications where once you begin taking them, you will have to continue to take them for the rest of your life. Talk about addiction with a sword over your head!
As to the supposed "failure" of our country, our current economic troubles were concocted by some very sober people in the banking industry not potheads or drunks.
There are some causal leaps in the argument.
First, there is a claim that a 5% drop in beer sales equals at least a 10% drop in car wrecks.
Second, there is the claim that the drop in beer sales is due to legalized pot.
Thrid, there is the assumption that the pot does not increase wrecks - it could well be that a 5% drop in beer sales reduces car wrecks by 20%, but wrecks increase 10% from pot usuage.
Proving that alcohol is worse that pot can never be an arguement for legalizing pot - it is, however, a wonderful argument for illegalizing alcohol.
Either way, it must be bliss
Comment by dquad
I have figured it out! BubbaGump is a bot! And a damn good one by that, pretty much good enough to pass the Turing test. Anyway, I could go for a Kinect mirror as long as it will be reliable and not subject to moisture damage - I honestly did not read this article as I was just hunting around for Bubbas spam. Now that the problem has been solved, the bot may be disarmed.
PPL, DONT FEED THE TROLL
I agree with Oakspar77777, "Proving that alcohol is worse that pot can never be an argument for legalizing pot - it is, however, a wonderful argument for illegalizing alcohol."
I'm pretty sure even thought pot is less dangerous then alcohol, doesn't imply it is harmless. Even though I don't have hard data, my observations seem to show that pot use kills brain cells. Of course, my observations could imply that stupid people use pot, I prefer to give them some credibility and say pot makes people stupid. Of course my observations might be skewed by smart pot users not telling me that they use pot... so really my observations are just like this "study" that was done, aka useless.
@ BlitzWakim Marijuana use does not kill brain cells. In fact pot helps preserve brain cells. A study from Scripps Research Institute in California found marijuana helps preserve brain function for Alzheimer patients. The only thing keeping Marijuana illegal for recreational use is ignorance.
@Blitz and in conjunction with Boka...studies have been done showing that cannabinoids promotes neurogenesis.
I love how everyone points to studies. I can make a study that shows snorting moisturizing lotion will make you rich. If you're all as gullible as it seems you just might believe that as well. I'm not saying marijuana is good or bad, that's not the point. The point is you have a predetermined opinion about it one way or another so you look for any study that points to your conclusion and jump on it even though it has no validity whatsoever. They looked at 3 things and tried to prove causation from just 3 things? Last time I checked alcohol doesn't even cause 15% of car fatalities. So these guys are saying that reducing beer sales by 5% will in turn reduce car fatalities by 10%? Must not have been statistics majors.