Varying marijuana laws pose questions for air travelers Marijuana – Miracle treatment for children with autism Marijuana workers get the California seal of approval Is Legal Marijuana the Last Bipartisan Cause in America? Marijuana activists vow to smoke and get arrested on steps of U.S. Capitol Most Americans Support Pro Athletes Using Marijuana for Pain Relief California Cannabis Is Going Industrial Trump’s drug czar pick has strong “no” vote record on marijuana Billions In Marijuana Taxes Are Addictive To State Governors The Holy Land of Medical Marijuana Oregon lawmakers vote to block cannabis users’ info from feds Marijuana legalization grows closer with Senate tax proposal Jerry Jones’s marijuana proposal could save NFL players’ lives The problem with America’s marijuana DUI laws John Oliver – Update Federal Marijuana Laws The way people buy legal marijuana will change in 2019 DOJ Wants Information On Colorado Marijuana Cases Oregon lawmakers introduce laws to protect legal recreational marijuana Public support for legal marijuana surged in 2016 Federal Marijuana Hostility Wrong Addiction Specialists Ponder a Potential Aid: Marijuana Dozens of industries could see a boost from legal marijuana Oregon May Declare Emergency Over Jeff Sessions’ Marijuana Threats Maximizing the Medical Effects of Marijuana Marijuana Legalization Opponents Were Wrong Oxford University announces new £10m medical marijuana research program Pro-marijuana church in Alabama: Members tout ‘God and cannabis’ Every State Could Legalize Marijuana by 2021- The Motley Fool 25% of US beer drinkers have switched to marijuana or would if it was legal Colorado Rep. Jared Polis has a plan to keep marijuana safe from Sessions Good science on marijuana is hard to find Jeff Sessions: Marijuana Is “Only Slightly Less Awful” Than Heroin Federal Marijuana Crimes Drop For Fifth Consecutive Year Jeff Sessions Will Enforce Federal Marijuana Laws In An ‘Appropriate Way’ Beer Industry Could Lose $2 Billion From Legal Marijuana Pot for pets: Owners treat sick animals with marijuana Marijuana Legalization Hasn’t Increased Traffic Fatalities Don’t let Big Marijuana prioritize profits over public safety The future of recreational marijuana in Trump’s America Idaho customers breathe life into tiny Oregon marijuana town Elizabeth Warren to Jeff Sessions “Respect state marijuana law” Doctors warn against teen pot use as marijuana laws loosen Will Edible And Concentrate Marijuana Brands Get As Big As Budweiser? Marijuana Industry To Create More Jobs Than Manufacturing By 2020 California Marijuana Is Not Safe to Smoke California marijuana tax and tracking systems behind schedule Republican Introduces “The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act” Why the Legal Marijuana Industry Is Suddenly Worried Military Veterans With PTSD Begin Marijuana Clinical Trials Marijuana Drug Could Extend Lives of Brain Cancer Patients, Study Finds Contaminated Medical Marijuana Believed To Have Killed California Cancer Patient Marijuana lobby goes mainstream Marijuana Prices Fall As Growers Flood The Market With Pot Scientists to Government: Make It Easier to Investigate Marijuana Likely scenarios for marijuana under Jeff Sessions as attorney general Six Predictions For The Marijuana Industry In 2017 Study finds traffic fatalities decline with medical marijuana laws This Company Is Using Brain Scans To Help You Select Medical Marijuana DEA dismissed its own misconceptions about marijuana Duke University Uses Identical Twins to Prove Weed Doesn’t Make Kids Dumb Marijuana industry brought to a standstill by pesticide testing problems Massachusetts Marijuana – Now What? Trump’s Attorney General Is a Bad Scenario for the Marijuana Industry Pharma executive behind OxyContin sells medical marijuana Marijuana Plants Flourish Under Energy-Saving LED Lights Legal Marijuana Could Drive A New Tech Boom California marijuana would fail Oregon’s standards, study finds When Medical Marijuana Is the Doctor’s Orders, Will Insurers Pay? Marijuana Sales Spike at Thanksgiving Legal marijuana users can’t legally buy a gun Maine marijuana legalization nears recount California marijuana industry is a ‘$25 billion opportunity’ NFL Players Searching For Painkiller Choices Hope For New Marijuana Rules Test for marijuana impairment? A UMass prof has an app for that States Offer Legal Marijuana – Investors And Marketers Line Up Washington Marijuana Outsells Liquor Colorado’s paradox: Recreational marijuana is legal, but it’s tough to use Attorney General Selection Signals Hazy Future for Marijuana Legalization Marijuana: Will it soon be bigger than the NFL? Will Legal Marijuana Lead To More People Smoking Tobacco? A legal snafu made medical marijuana tax-free in California for 2017 Advocates Wait for Trump’s Stance on Legal Marijuana Marijuana may help control substance abuse, mental health disorders California Marijuana is Legal. Now What? Legislators file bills aimed at decriminalizing Texas marijuana Massachusetts Marijuana gold rush? Walmart of Weed? Not so fast CDC: More people are using marijuana, but fewer are abusing it Industrial hemp industry gets kick-start from oil extract US court upholds ban on selling guns to marijuana card holders Marijuana startups could be hurt once legalization hits Marijuana Drug Helps Kids With Rare Forms Of Epilepsy In Studies Libertarian Gary Johnson Explains Why He Supports Legal Marijuana U.S. Gov’t Will Legalize Marijuana on August 1 Police and Prison Guard Groups Fight Marijuana Legalization in California Study: States are losing out on billions of dollars by keeping marijuana illegal New law could put some medical marijuana dispensaries out of business Will Canada become America’s cannabis capital? Talking With Teenagers About Marijuana Jay Evensen: Americans embrace marijuana blindly Vacant California prison could be turned into marijuana production site



If you want to start an argument, try saying the legalization of marijuana has led to an increase in automobile accidents nationwide.

You may have read recently that the AAA Foundation for Public Safety released a new study showing an increase, since the legalization of pot there, in the percentage of Washington state drivers involved in accidents who had used the drug within hours of their crash. Similarly, the Utah Highway Safety Office reports an enormous increase in the percentage of drivers involved in fatal accidents who have marijuana in their systems, even though the drug remains strictly illegal here for any use.

Yet virtually all news stories on the subject attract comments from pot apologists arguing it is impossible to know whether use of the drug caused the accident.

And the trouble is, they are right — at least to an extent.

The United States has embarked on a huge social experiment involving a drug whose effects we know little about. Even Utah lawmakers considered making cannabis legal for medical reasons this year, with hearings consisting mainly of anecdotal testimony from people who said it helped them.

This is because the science is lacking. Doctors who might want to prescribe it know little about dosages or specific applications. People who use it … just use it. It works for some, and not for others.

The federal government continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, which discourages federal funding for research. Utah lawmakers this year didn’t pass a medical marijuana law after all, but they did pass a resolution calling on Washington to make it a Schedule 2 drug, which would allow for greater study.

That’s the right order — gather facts, then consider laws. Unfortunately, order has little remaining relevance to this subject. Nearly half the states now allow marijuana use in some form, at least for medicinal reasons. A recent AP-NORC poll found 61 percent support nationwide for legalization of some sort, which is a new record.

We just don’t know what we’ve unleashed.

First, let’s dispel the myth that smoking marijuana doesn’t impair people behind the wheel. You don’t have to search long to find academic studies that put this to rest.

Beyond that, however, things get blurry in a hurry.

People can test positive for marijuana long after they ingest it, and long after it has stopped impairing them. Further, there appears to be little correlation between the amount of the drug used and its effects. In short, it varies.

One study published in the Oxford Journal of Analytical Toxicology measured the types of skills needed to properly drive a car and react to road conditions and found that occasional smokers became much more impaired than frequent smokers. Apparently, the study suggests, people become tolerant to the drug after frequent use.

About a dozen states have passed laws that set specific limits on blood content for marijuana. Experts say this is worse than useless; it’s dangerous.

The AAA Foundation suggests doing away with legal limits and training some police officers to administer a battery of tests to confirm impairment, followed by blood tests. The Washington Post quoted an AAA official saying this would place the burden of proof on the driver to show he or she wasn’t using pot.

In the midst of this confusion, let’s dispel another myth. The drive to legalize marijuana has no historical equivalent to the effort to repeal prohibition. When the 18th Amendment was ratified, it put an immediate halt to a liquor industry that was large and thriving, with standards of quality and established supply chains.

When states began legalizing marijuana, the legal industry had to start from nothing, including knowledge about what it does.

Deseret News

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: