Officials say pot-inebriated driving tough to prove,” Taunton Gazette, Jan. 31).Mary Maguire of the AAA Northeast falsely represented a Washington state study conducted by her own organization in order to advance a fear campaign about the recently-passed marijuana legalization law (“
Maguire said that the Washington AAA report “indicates a doubling of the percentage of drivers in fatal crashes (2013-14) who had recently used marijuana before driving.” The study made no such finding. As any clinical statistician knows, marijuana can be detected in someone’s system up to two weeks after consumption—which means that detection can occur long after the intoxicating symptoms have disappeared.
Nor did the study draw any conclusions about marijuana-impaired driving. In the executive summary, the study’s authors state that their data “do not indicate that drivers with detectable THC in their blood were necessarily impaired by THC or that they were at fault for the crash.”
Citizens concerned about the legitimate issues of driving while intoxicated would do well to ignore Maguire’s reefer-madness nonsense and listen to the common sense voiced by Taunton Police Chief Edward Walsh. Walsh said he’s not convinced that the new law will result in any meaningful increase of marijuana use among the general public. “They already were using it before,” Walsh said.
Walsh is correct. Data from Colorado and other legal states show no significant increase in marijuana use. As Colorado Gov. Thomas Hickenlooper said last year, the people using marijuana after it became legal are the same ones who were using it before. Massachusetts will likely be no different.