Letters to the Editor

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MARIJUANA: Studies show danger of pot

Letter by Kristine Ford, Puyallup on Feb. 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm with 31 Comments »
February 10, 2012 12:53 pm

Re: “Pot users twice as likely to cause crash” (TNT, 2-10)

A Canadian university’s analysis of nine studies of more than 49,000 people who were involved in accidents on public roads found that drivers who had used marijuana within three hours had nearly double the risk of causing a collision as drivers not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Knowing this, how can the intelligent people of Washington state sit back and allow the legalization of marijuana?

Now that ballot signatures have been submitted, Washington could become the first state in the union to legalize marijuana. Rick Steves, the co-sponsor on New Approach Washington’s Initiative 502 is asking our support of this senseless initiative that would regulate and license marijuana production, distribution and possession for anyone over 21.

Responsible adults in the state of Washington need to make a stand and put a stop to this before it goes any further and we become one of these statistics.

Leave a comment Comments → 31
  1. http://ftp.iza.org/dp6112.pdf
    and
    http://coloradoindependent.com/106742/cu-study-medical-marijuana-saves-lives
    and
    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/explainer/2011/11/does_marijuana_make_you_a_more_dangerous_driver_than_alcohol_.html

    Actually, the legalization of marijuana in 16 states, has lead to a 9% DECLINE in traffic fatalities. University of Colorado study. And Yale dude.

    This while there was ZERO consumption increase among minors. Do your homework better, sir.

  2. I mean ma’am.

  3. I’m a responsible adult. I signed the petition and will vote in favor of legalization. This needs to be done. Marijuana should never have been listed as a Schedule I drug.

  4. alindasue says:

    “…as drivers NOT under the influence of drugs or alcohol.” (emphasis mine)

    Driving while impaired is driving while impaired, whether the impairing substance be drugs (legal or illegal) or alcohol. Making marijuana legal is not going to change that.

    Of course, it’s always better to NOT be impaired. However, all the reasons not to legalize marijuana can equally be applied to alcohol, and all the reasons for ending alcohol prohibition when they did can equally be applied to marijuana.

  5. boomer95 says:

    Have you also read the research done by American universitys? I think responsible adults in Washington state have made a stand and you need to re-think your opinion.

  6. “drivers who had used marijuana within three hours had nearly double the risk of causing a collision as drivers not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

    Kristine, given those results, why aren’t you also calling for the prohibition of alcohol as well as marijuana and other drugs? Why not go all in and …

    Ban Marijuana!

    Ban Drugs!

    Ban Alcohol!

  7. Ban sleep depravation (sleep apnea, double shifts, long hours driving on vacation or work, etc.)

  8. BAN HUMANS DRIVING – LEAVE IT TO ROBOTIC CARS

  9. The dangerous activity is driving while intoxicated on ANY substance whether it is alcohol, pot, prescription pills, lack of sleep, cell phones…..

    And…since studies demonstrate that driving while distracted (by cell phones) is a larger hazard than driving under the influence of all substances combined – Let’s ban cell phones!

  10. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Leave my booze alone. Studies have shown the health benefits time and again. Also, it is part of main stream society and part of western culture as a whole.

    Pot, even though widely used, is not a large part of our culture and more of a sub-culture. It symbolizes the 60-70’s and stoned youth. The medical benefits can be had in a pill. While alcohol has many associations, pot is associated with far left potheads, old hippies, and immature kids.

    Keep it illegal, but make it a minor infraction.

  11. stumpy567 says:

    I used to use marajuana on a regular basis. Mabe I’ll start again if I can find the stuff they got to keep them baked for three hours.
    Sorry I don’t find your study credible or reliable.
    come on man!!!! Do you really believe this.
    You need to stop watching “reefer madness”

    “double the risk of causing a collision as drivers not under the influence of drugs or alcohol”

    Perhaps the accidents were caused by people under the influence of both, pot and alcohol.

    Legalize pot (stop the absurd notions of whacky behavior)

    Tax pot (windfall of revenue to balance budget)

    Stop prosecuting low level offenders(save tax dollars)

  12. Ms Ford, you really need to do more homework. You compare apples and oranges in your presentation. The intelligent people of the state will get this passed in spite of the ill-informed and rigid thinkers. My other comments have already been covered by the folks that already responded.

  13. alindasue says:

    concernedtacoma7 said, “Leave my booze alone.”

    I’m going to start by saying I don’t drink alcohol or use marijuana in any form – and wouldn’t even if marijuana were to become legal – so I have no “leave my booze [or pot] alone” situation to bias my views.

    You speak of pot not being a part of our mainstream culture, but at one time long before the ’60s and ’70s it was. At one time even the smoking of opium was a wide spread practice…

    Anyhow, regarding your claim to the health benefits of alcohol, I found an interesting paper from the National Institute of Health on the Risk and Benefits of drinking alcohol. Long story short – low amounts of alcohol consumption do lower the risk of some type of heart diseases. However alcohol consumption increases the risk of liver disease, stroke, chronic gastritis and some cancers. So the report begins with stating the advantages of drinking a low amount of alcohol, but in its summary of the overall impact, it says, “At this point, research clearly indicates that no pattern of drinking is without risks.”

    I couldn’t find a similar non-biased government study on marijuana use, but a Fox News report (of all things), citing two opposing studies, states that no one has ever died from marijuana overdose and that most of the negative health claims about marijuana are not fully proven. A Harvard Mental Health Letter says that heavy marijuana use can lead to addiction and that marijuana can have aggravating effects on people with mental illness – things also said about alcohol in the above mentioned NIH paper.

    http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh24-1/05-11.pdf
    http://www.foxnews.com/health/2010/10/19/benefits-marijuana/
    http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/understanding-marijuanas-risks-to-the-brain

    So, it still sounds to me like neither substance is terribly good for people. Marijuana may have different effects, but they are no worse than alcohol. The biggest difference I’ve seen is that I’ve met several violent drunks, but never a violent pot head.

    By the way, you mentioned that “The medical benefits can be had in a pill.” The Fox News article addresses some of the differences between marijuana and the chemical THC substitute, and aside from the issues associated with smoking anything, the pill form seems to have more negative affects than marijuana itself does.

  14. ManuelMartini says:

    “concernedtacoma7 said, “Leave my booze alone.”

    There are certain quotes that educate me on these threads. Some that amaze me.

    This one did neither.

  15. sandblower says:

    Making anything else legal that impairs drivers is irresponsible and stupid. The Colorado study mentioned in an earlier post has a huge qualifier that does nothing to negate the Canadian study.
    So many people read for enjoyment rather than for comprehension.

  16. alindasue says:

    sandblower,

    Given that reasoning, then cold medicine should be illegal.

    As I pointed out before, driving stoned will still be just as illegal even if marijuana were totally legal. All the Canadian study showed was that if you drive impaired on marijuana OR ALCOHOL, you are dangerous.
    That does nothing to negate the Colorado study.

    Some people read for both comprehension and enjoyment.

  17. Kristine, I will be voting no. I see no reason to unleash another drug on society.

  18. tellnolies says:

    Then tell the pharmaceutical companies to quit development of new drugs pawl. This is nothing new to be “unleashed” on society, it’s been around a long long time…

    What would be new is treating these issues rationally rather than emotionally

  19. jtarleton says:

    I’m support the idea of making alcohol illegal also. Alcohol has created major societal issues in the United Sttaes and to build upon that and in the support of family values ban Divorce. Divorce creates alot of negative societal issues as well.

  20. ManuelMartini says:

    jtarleton – It’s been done. Failed miserably.

    As to divorce – is it your contention that a woman should stay in a relationship and possibly get beat to death?

  21. MM – I’m thinking that jtarleton forgot that sarcasm doesn’t read very well on the internet….

  22. ManuelMartini says:

    beerBoy – I considered that, but posted a “just in case” retort.

  23. ItalianSpring says:

    Ban all cars and we can legalize all drugs. It’s what liberals want anyway as they despise oil (a naturally occurring substance, just like pot).

  24. ManuelMartini says:

    another “don’t mess with my alcohol” candidate…..

  25. bobcat1a says:

    PAWL: “Kristine, I will be voting no. I see no reason to unleash another drug on society.”

    In case you haven’t noticed, it’s off the leash already. Do you imagine that there aren’t already large numbers of people driving while impaired from marijuana?
    We don’t make drinking illegal; we make driving will drinking illegal. It can be proven by facts and figures that 100% of all traffic fatalities are caused by driving. BAN DRIVING!

  26. Inhaling hot gas and smoke into your lungs is a perfectly healthy pass time! You can hang out with all the other smokers dragging oxygen around. Just don’t ask the rest of us to pay…oops, too late!

  27. Behave – pssst brownies

  28. Final_Analysis says:

    It’s too bad people need drugs or booze to have a good time.

  29. Final…I bet you think that humans are the only animal that partakes of things that give a buzz.

  30. IMO: Decriminalize, yes. Legalize, no.

  31. notSpicoli says:

    I am posting late because I finally had time to study and review the article (Acute cannabis consumption and motor vehicle collision risk: systematic review of observational studies and meta-analysis).

    Regarding I-502, the letter’s author, Ms. Ford, asks, “Knowing this, how can the intelligent people of Washington state sit back and allow the legalization of marijuana?

    You are correct that intelligent people are supporting the end of marijuana prohibition in our state and the nation.

    Many, like me and many I know who are supporting I-502, are doing so because we feel that–though marijuana is not harmless–the effects of marijuana prohibition far outweigh the dangers of marijuana itself. We are convinced that the policy toward marijuana has not worked and that the status quo is unsatisfactory.

    We are suggesting a policy that reflects reality. Marijuana is the second largest cash crop in our state, second only to apples. The huge marijuana industry is unregulated, untaxed, and operates in black market without any of the protections society demands with alcohol. I-502 provides the necessary regulations and safeguards ending prohibition, including provisions to deal with concerns about impaired driving.

    I would direct Ms. Ford to the New Approach Washington website where she can read for herself the clearly articulated reasons why the 10 sponsors of I-502, intelligent by any measure, are asking for voters to repeal marijuana prohibition in our state.

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