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.
I don’t agree with the validity of this study. It seems like it’s reaching. I do however agree with the conclusion. MJ use decreases crime in society. (DUI is a crime). Tokers are usually very calm easy going people. While drinkers are aggressive and ignorant. People into harder drugs are suffering from a disease and need help. (and alcohol can fall into this category).
War on Drugs = War on Poverty
85% of people locked up in the states are there because of non-violent offences, such as possession of MJ…lock up a toker with a hardened murderer and you call that rehabilitation?
MJ is a schedule 1 drug…more dangerous than heroin and crack?? Who is making these laws?
Why can’t they listen to the founding fathers? George Washington said… U.S. President "Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere."
I wouldn’t advise driving while under the influence of MJ, it turns everyone into a Sunday driver.
But that will never happen, too much money in big pharma. MJ would reduce their profits in ½ with no side effects to the user (except munchies, and a good night’s sleep)
This 100% PROVES IT Mary Jane is the Magic DRUG because I am going to agree with aldron 100% this is crazy!! WEED IS BRINGING IS TOGETHER!!!! I mean if weed can bring us together it can do ANYTHING!!!! This proves it Legalize it and the world will simply be at peace... I do not make this comment in joking at all I am being serious this just goes to show mary jane is the peace maker!!
At Boka, Then if it doesn't kill brain cells that must mean stupid people are the only ones to use it. Unless, like I said before, "my observations might be skewed by smart pot users not telling me that they use pot" so really your study and my observations do nothing to educate us further. My observations only contain 4 cases so really my study is even more useless then you thought. And besides, my previous comments where a sarcastic commentary on the uselessness of the study to show causality linked to pot use. I'm sorry you could not deduce sarcasm from my previous comment, but that is the nature of text. BTW I have no problem with medical marijuana.
Well, I believe that if anyone is found to be operating any machinery under the influence of ANY drug they should be given the death sentence. All they are doing is playing Russian Roulette. If you are going to do drugs, do it at home - not in front of your kids, please - and don't drive or go to work.
Oh, and I ain't gonna have any sympathy for anyone who gets lung cancer from smoking pot.
@Delkomatic......man I LMAO. But your post is so true, weed it is a peacemaker. *passes you blunt*
Sorry, marijuana supporters, we're not buying your "studies." If it impairs your judgment and/or motor skills, it impairs your driving. If it's dangerous to drive drunk and it's dangerous to drive sleep-deprived, do you really think you can convince us that it's safe to drive high on marijuana? There may be a good case for medical marijuana. There is no good case for driving high, drunk, sleep-deprived, or just plain stupid (like the young and the reckless).
Wow dquad, kinda strong words from someone that originates in the ONE unknown and all perfectly, peeeerfect country in the world.... "death sentence". That kinda sounds like America talk mister. Cuz I get the idea that maybe YOU think we invented it. Maybe you should run for el presidente. If you could slip by the whole natural-born-citizen thingie, maybe you could run/enforce things better for us. Show all us ignant yankees how things oughta be done.
I absolutely agree that operating equipment under the influence of drugs like MJ and alcohol is intolerable. However "death sentence" is rather harsh coming from such a wise, and merciful leader such as yourself. Maybe the immediate termination of "said" employee, resulting in the inability of "said" employee to provide for oneself and or family would be a more humane avenue.
Even if MJ were to be legalized in the states, all respectable companies enforce policies that discourage employees from indulging in such activities. On the job (beers), and off (MJ). I loves me some beers, but Pheonix1012 summed it up, " 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." Not really an easy thing to tell a hardcore alcoholic or drug addict. But a very easy decision when it comes to the professional field. i.e. Smoke dope on the job, or come in drunk and your history.
In summary, even if MJ were to be broadly legalized in the US. You still won't be able to obtain and maintain a "grown up" job. At least until the private sectors loosen up... and they won't until the very expensive insurance policies that they carry loosen up.
What's that? you want to hire and insure a stoner/alcoholic and put them in charge of a big rig, jet airliner, scaple, power plant SKADA system, police badge?......sure.
LOL. I don't think you will find a state farm agent being that agreeable after your employer sings the jingle.
Grown adults in normal
Finally, someone I can side with :)
Some how that last part got cut off.
On another note,
Just a thought from a former resident of the Mitten state ( MI...who recently legalized MJ for medicinal use).
I watched MI's economy and housing market take the first plunge down the poo hole a few years back. The state witnessed a mass exodus of residents / tax payers, including myself. The state then had to recoup the lost income to support its sinking hulk, so it's beloved EX governor increased the fines and penalties associated with driving motor vehicles while impaired. She also increased patrols looking for any tipsy drivers.
Other than obtaining revenue for the state through "sleezy" means ( by "sleezy" I mean like shooting fish in a barrel) it had the positive side effect of rightfully scaring the crap out of people. It was no longer safe to drive home from the bar, ( not just for the obvious reason). Smaller towns and cities suddenly started seeing taxie cab companies setting up shop and darting around their bar districts. Companies willing to safely and cheaply (compared to DUI fines) escort s#!t faced bar patrons back home.
This all happened right around the same time they legalized Mary J in the state.....hmmm.
P.S. Just to clarify, I strongly feel that a States penalties should be strict to the point that they strongly discourage any fool from climbing behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol. However my statement that it was "sleezy" was intended for a state government that increased fines under the guise that it was solely in the interest of protecting the public, (not the states budget), without increasing the availability of alternative pubic/private transportation.
"Oh, and I ain't gonna have any sympathy for anyone who gets lung cancer from smoking pot."
1) Donald Tashkin, a UCLA researcher whose work is funded by NIDA, did a case-control study comparing 1,200 patients with lung, head and neck cancers to a matched group with no cancer. Even the heaviest marijuana smokers had no increased risk of cancer, and had somewhat lower cancer risk than non-smokers (tobacco smokers had a 20-fold increased lung cancer risk). Tashkin D. Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer: Results of a Case-Control Study. American Thoracic Society International Conference. May 23, 2006.
2) Researchers at the Kaiser-Permanente HMO, funded by NIDA, followed 65,000 patients for nearly a decade, comparing cancer rates among non-smokers, tobacco smokers, and marijuana smokers. Tobacco smokers had massively higher rates of lung cancer and other cancers. Marijuana smokers who didn't also use tobacco had no increase in risk of tobacco-related cancers or of cancer risk overall. In fact their rates of lung and most other cancers were slightly lower than non-smokers, though the difference did not reach statistical significance. Sidney, S. et al. Marijuana Use and Cancer Incidence (California, United States). Cancer Causes and Control. Vol. 8. Sept. 1997, p. 722-728
Well, crap, there goes another anti-pot talking point. But don't worry drug warriors, I'm sure SOMETHING will eventually stick.
I think the reason it’s so hard for many people to wrap their head around the idea that cannabis + driving is probably not THAT* dangerous is that their whole view of drugs is skewed by alcohol (combined with the fact that they often have very little or even no personal experience with cannabis). Drinking and driving is VERY dangerous. And (to some) alcohol isn’t even a true “drug.” It’s legal and socially acceptable. More importantly, THEY use it. If alcohol consumption makes driving very dangerous, then the use of “drugs” <i>MUST</i> make driving SUPER-CRAZY-OH-MY-GOD-HIDE-THE-CHILDREN dangerous. I mean how could any recreational drug be less dangerous than alcohol, the one we decided to keep legal? That would suggest that our entire drug policy is irrational, and that can’t be right. Even scarier for some people, that would make THEM, in a sense, “worse” than “drug users,” you know, the people they get such a kick out of feeling superior to. That’s no fun for the old ego.
*I'm not convinced it's a good idea to drive after enjoying cannabis. And I absolutely believe that driving WHILE IMPAIRED should remain illegal. But that's NOT an argument for asinine per se “drugged driving” rules based on nearly undetectable levels of trace metabolites. And it’s SURE AS HELL NOT an argument for criminalizing the possession or sale of cannabis altogether.
"Well, I believe that if anyone is found to be operating any machinery under the influence of ANY drug they should be given the death sentence."
Let me ask you something. Do you drink coffee? If you do and have ever operated heavy machinery you need to come to where I am so I can kill you. If you did not know caffeine is a drug. You really are Fu*king ignorant. It is people like you who really need to be put down. Period.
^ Excuse the grammar.
caffeine is a terrible drug. Seriously. It wrecked my health. But I don't think it should be made illegal.
Im a daily smoker, and I have to say I think people are still a bit ignorant to what it actually does to you. I mean in a country where everyone medicates with Pharmaciticles that have a list of side effects aslong as your arm so to speak. Ill take a 4 stoned drivers near me opposed to one all cracked on xanax, which is the most commonly prescribed and abused drug in America. This article wasnt about getting a bunch of people stoned while driving it is to make people realize not to demonize something they have no FUCKING clue about. When it really comes down to it anyone who would keep booze legal and criminalize marijuana is one of two things Ignorant (misinformed) or just a plain hypocrit which the world has plenty of both dont become another especially when that means youre blocking something that could potentially treat somebody. We justify all these other meds that just fuck us with side effects from internal bleeding to fucking ED (erectile dysfunction). Im curious though were are all these accidents caused by pot are happening. Ill tell you what dequad ,lauren go hang out at your local er say fri sat night and see what the number one cause of people losing control of their vehicle because it most certianetly is 100% alcohol. I hate to make that argument because i definately enjoy the sauce every now and then, but thats the reality of it. Now i know what you're going to say skeptics, what about drug overdoses well between codeine and xanax there is really no room for compitetors but go ahead and google "marijuana overdose" i havent done yet but my guess HILAROUS.
Roger i hate to disagree with you, but booze is definately a drug if not the drug everything else you said is spot on.
z0mbiedestructo - I completely agree. OF COURSE alcohol is a drug! I was just making the point that many people don't THINK of it that way. The drug warriors have gone to great lengths to rhetorically separate “drugs” and “alcohol” (in order to make the hypocrisy of the whole enterprise less glaring). Of course, the most obvious example is found in the very use of the terms “drugs” and “alcohol.” “Drugs” is almost always used to mean drugs OTHER than alcohol, which is generally referred to separately. (The phrase “drugs and alcohol” is the linguistic equivalent of “dogs and labrador retrievers.”) Alcohol gets you “drunk.” All other drugs get you “high.” The buddy who sells you your weed is a “drug dealer.” The girl who sells you your booze is a “cashier.” A corkscrew is just a corkscrew. A water pipe is "drug paraphernalia." If you know a lot about wine, you're a "connoisseur." If you know a lot about cannabis, you're a "pothead." People “use” drugs. People “drink,” “consume,” or “enjoy” alcohol, etc. etc.
I actually don't drink any coffee at all. Pretty much only water and the occasional glass of Lemon from the tree.
I hope this makes people question the fact that we have non violent people serving jail time for possessing a plant that isn't as dangerous as its been made out to be. As a people we have been lied to and that lie has been used to steal homes, possessions and freedom from fellow Americans.
Our politicians are conducting insider trading, accepting bribes, gifts, and DRUGS. Then turning around and taking money from the people and handing it back to the very same banks/special interest groups that corrupt them. All while forcing a savage war on drugs against the American People. The issue of marijuana legalization isn't about 'safety', 'the children' or 'freedom'. Our congress doesn't care about those things. This is about money and power.
DQUAD is a clever sockpuppet who is underhandedly ridiculing the prohibitionist crowd. Even his name is a subtle play on words..."Dee Quad" said quickly sounds out as 'Richard' Wad.
Aside from that, there are so may intelligently thought-out arguments here, yet no one bothers to write senators, legislators et al. and sign their names to their arguments. Until we all do that, we will never accomplish what needs to be done.
@BlitzWakim Actually, I have tried Cannabis myself a couple of times and the people that I've used it with are the most intelligent friends that I have. They are very educated about the effects Cannabis beholds and they both are intellectual people. Then we have men like Carl Sagan, who said that Cannabis enhanced his life and that he may not have been the exact man he was if he had not tried it. He used it for his work, he smoked it to enhance his sex life, he used it when thinking of Scientific formulas, he once said ""I can remember one occasion, taking a shower with my wife while high, in which I had an idea on the origins and invalidities of racism in terms of gaussian distribution curves,'' wrote the former Cornell University professor. "I wrote the curves in soap on the shower wall, and went to write the idea down.
So the use of Cannabis has enhanced a lot of peoples life, which I find very positive. That is the great thing about psychadelic drugs, that it may impact your life in extraordinary ways. But some hallucigens and some other psyhcadelics may affect people in negative ways, but that doesn't mean the drug itself beholds dangerous traits that will harm you, it is all in your mind.
Alcohol was illegalized once. That didn't work. Alcohol was a much older substance; much more well known. Popular support for the use of, regardless of the negative studies, alcohol has broken through the illegalization. The truth is, much like alcohol, if used in a responsible moderate manner, marijuana won't hurt anyone. A glass of red wine or dark beer will help the heart in defense of heart disease. Marijuana, in studies, which out of pure laziness, I will not cite, has been show to prevent the on-set of alzheimers and help with anxiety, depression and pain.
The obvious medical uses, well: are obvious. Marijuana is also known for recreational use. Like alcohol it can be abused. Those who have abused both alcohol and marijuana, not necessarily at the same time, know that the effects on their lives, both in the short term and long term, are miles and miles apart. Alcohol is a much worse substance in potential for abuse and while abusing it. Yet alcohol is legal. Before one can come in and fill all the readers' minds with visions of sugar plums resembling that of ignorance and hear say, take a look at the history of marijuana.
As illustrated by others before me, marijuana is blackened with the constructs of horrid tools such as: racism and un-proven generalization. The economic interests in booting hemp from the market made marijuana the number one for illegalization. Ignorant people, who had never tried marijuana, wanted it illegalized, including all other drugs and alcohol! I cannot recall the groups involved, but they would assume, before trying. Their beliefs, engraved with racist and undependable understanding, forced their fundamental Michelle Bachmanesque beliefs in to our laws and congress.
The illegalization of Marijuana is the forefront of a larger problem that is destroying our government, economy and way of life from the inside out. The conclusion however, much like alcohol, the longer Marijuana exists and the more people smoke it: regardless of class, race, gender, or religious belief, the more likely it is for legalization. It's so far from any other drug on the DEA controlled substances list in effect physically and mentally it is surprising people could still think it worthy of it's status. Legalization is on the brink of reality, and there is nothing the left-or-right wing can do about it. Popular support is increasing. The next time you see a person running around killing babies, raping women and stealing panties because they're smoking pot you can support your fallible argument for the illegalization of marijuana. I could talk about laziness and other unconsequential effects of pot that people wrongly percieve as effects, but I won't. My purpose is to rub it in your face.
YOU ARE THE MINORITY: THOSE WHO ARE AGAINST POT WITH THEIR UNBACKED BIAS. THOSE WHO HAVEN'T TRIED IT, BUT CONTINUE TO JUDGE IT. THOSE WHO THINK IT WILL NEVER BE LEGALIZED BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY'RE THE MAJORITY. WRONG: YOU ARE THE MINORITY. LIKE ALCOHOL, BECAUSE OF POPULAR SUPPORT, IT WILL BE LEGALIZED - IT IS INEVITABLE.