Legal pot may mean less driving while stoned

So says one study.

A new study has determined that people in states where cannabis is legal are less likely to drive while stoned than people in states where weed remains criminalized.

The study, published this month in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports, analyzed self-reported data from a national survey on cannabis use. Respondents in states where cannabis has been legalized for medical or recreational use said they were less likely to get behind the wheel within three hours of consuming the substance than those in states where pot is legally prohibited.

The results appear to contradict claims that decriminalizing weed will lead to upswings in impaired driving, a criticism sometimes voiced by anti-reform lawmakers.

The study considered Texas a state where cannabis is illegal since researchers collected their survey data between August 2016 and May 2017, a time before the legislature expanded its medical marijuana program to include more than a narrow range of ailments.

Researchers said the results suggest that states with legalized cannabis have done a better job educating residents about potential dangers of driving while impaired. Labeling requirements on legal cannabis also may help by providing warnings that deter people from getting behind the wheel.

“In legal states, cannabis users may receive more information about the risks of cannabis use from sources like physicians who issue medical cannabis cards or dispensary staff than users living in neither states,” the study’s authors wrote.

One exception in the findings was that medical cannabis patients who report frequent use had driving behavior on par with pot users in states where pot is illegal.

The study is here, and it’s too wonky for me to try to evaluate. It is just one study, and it is of self-reported behavior, though as they note in the study that has statistical validity. But it’s still just one study, and there’s clearly a lot of room for more analysis. It’s a starting point for the inevitable claims that legalizing pot will unleash countless stoned drivers on the roads.

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16 Responses to Legal pot may mean less driving while stoned

  1. Flypusher says:

    Legalize it, regulate it, tax it.

  2. Paul Kubosh says:

    Flypusher, you forgot one more thing. Create drug addictions.

  3. Flypusher says:

    To extent your reasoning to its logical conclusion, we need to be banning alcohol and tobacco.

  4. C.L. says:

    I’m way less concerned about sharing the road with Snoop Dog who puff/puff/passed his way through the dinner that I am with the Kubosh Brothers downing a handful off beers at the Capitol Grille or Cafe Annie, er…The Annie Cafe, then getting behind their wheel of their blacked out Suburban on Houston Avenue or Memorial or Allen Parkway.

    Pot smokers aren’t generally emboldened drivers after burning a phatty – can’t say the same thing about drunkards. There’s a reason I stay off the roads around 2am – that late in the evening Cheech is still listening to Dark Side of the Moon on his record player, watching the vinyl go round and round and round…

  5. C.L. says:

    Oh, and News Flash – the streets are already full of drivers who chose to smoke their way to a ‘lesser state of anxiety’ – easily identifiable, they’re the folks in the right hand lane doing 10mph under the speed limit.

  6. Paul Kubosh says:

    Flypusher….wrong….same old tired response to the obvious. Just ask yourself. Would you be O.K. with all of your family members smoking weed at say 14, 16, 18? How about for their graduation party you take them to a titty bar and smoke a joint.

  7. Paul Kubosh says:

    C.L. that wouldn’t be me. That would be my other brothers.

  8. Paul Kubosh says:

    One more thing…Just look at the Cartoon at the front of the article. Can you say rocket scientist?

  9. Flypusher says:

    Do you even think before you post? Where do you get the notion that legalized pot means it’s going to be legal for minors? What happens to an alcohol seller if TABC catches them selling to underage kids? That falls squarely under “regulate it”.

    But I challenge you to present a pharmacological reason that pot should be illegal but alcohol and tobacco aren’t.

  10. Flypusher says:

    You could say the exact thing about a drunk cartoon character. So why is stoned worse?

  11. Flypusher,

    Alcohol and Cigarettes are not legal for minors. So they don’t abuse. You legalize it Minors will abuse it. Minors abuse alcohol and Tobacco. You keep comparing Tobacco to Alcohol. Those are two big business products. I don’t think Weed should be a big business product. However, if you do then you do. If you like the picture of stoned people then you do. Like I said rocket scientist. If we keep legalizing Pot they will eventually be selling it in all convenience stores across america. Big business will crush it. If that is what you want then so be it. I just think it is dangerous.

  12. Flypusher says:

    “ Alcohol and Cigarettes are not legal for minors. So they don’t abuse. You legalize it Minors will abuse it. Minors abuse alcohol and Tobacco.”

    You’re totally contradicting yourself.

    As I’ve said before, I’ve never partaken of the hippie lettuce. Not my jam. My issue is with bad laws that are not based in any evidence, that set arbitrary and hypocritical standards, and do more harm than good. Pot has a federal drug classification as schedule 1, which means that it is considered more dangerous than meth, cocaine, or even fentanyl. You shouldn’t need a Biochem degree to recognize how totally ridiculous that is.

    You claim pot is so dangerous, yet object to it becoming a “ big business product”, which would actually make it much safer. You’re not the first old reactionary I’ve challenged on the hypocritical stance of “stoned= objectionable, drunk=I’ll allow it”. Your tap dance is familiar and I suspect that it’s going around the same old underlying reason: that it’s not pot, but rather certain groups of people associated with using pot that get your dander up. But if that’s really not your reason, you keep passing up chance after chance to state an alternative, fact-based take on the matter.

  13. mollusk says:

    Oh for Pete’s sake.

    Anything that can be abused will be abused by some percentage of the population without regard to age or legality. Making something illegal does approximately jack squat to prevent the use or performance of whatever thing or act is in issue – if anything, it’s counterproductive.

    When the rest of the OFWG (old fat white guy) contingent and I were young, possession of so much as a seed or partial leaf of cannabis was a felony in Texas. Did that stop any in our cohort from firing up a blunt? Nope. (OK, perhaps Heathcliff over there – but he prolly would have found some other reason to abstain anyway)

    However, the hysterical criminalization (which continues to this day in the form of Schedule 1 classification) does make any sort of serious study exponentially more difficult. Yet lo and behold, as it turns out this natural substance* has significant anti inflammatory qualities, among many other legitimate medical uses.

    *to hijack an old PSA, why do you think they call it weed?

  14. C.L. says:

    Couple things…

    Paul, hit the ‘Stop’ button on our VCR playing ‘Reefer Madness’ on a continuous loop.

    Re: “If we keep legalizing Pot they will eventually be selling it in all convenience stores across america.” First, awesome, and second, News Flash – you can buy Delta-8 and Delta-9 gummies everywhere in H-town and on the interweb, which are just a couple molecules and potency percentages away from the old Oaxacan Gold found in the crumbled up baggy hidden in your old shoebox stored in your Mom’s 1936 closest where it appears you still reside.

  15. Paul Kubosh says:

    Like I said. All rocket Scientist.

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