Colorado made the decision to legalize the cannabis drug for its
residents in 2012. The opposition to the vote predicted an increase in those driving under the influence of marijuana and in turn an increase in traffic accidents whilst under the influence of the drug. Some claim that the substance can cause response times to suffer and that the user’s judgment may become impaired when under the influence.
According to statistics published when cannabis was first legalized in Colorado in 2001, there was a spike in traffic accidents involving drivers who had tested positive for marijuana, which campaigners attribute to the relaxed laws. Pot supporters, however argue that before marijuana was legalized, a third of drivers involved in accidents tested positive for marijuana anyway.
Medical Marijuana Detectable For Weeks After Side Effects Wear Off
Even though statistics do exist, it is actually next to impossible to get realistic statistics from testing. Whilst it is possible to accurately detect how much alcohol a driver still has in their system when it comes to pot, things are very different. The test for recreational or medical marijuana simply tests for metabolites in the body, which can actually linger for days and sometimes even weeks after marijuana has been used. If a driver tests positive for marijuana, all this tells the police is that they have used marijuana at some point over the past few days. Side effects from using marijuana wear off after a few hours so the driver may actually be perfectly safe to drive.
Legalizing The Cannabis Dispensary Gives Explanation For Surge In Cannabis Users
Explaining the statistics of the 2001 statistics for road traffic
accidents become simple considering the public’s response to legalization. As marijuana became legally available, it was only to be expected that more drivers would be likely to have used the drug within the days or weeks before their accidents. Of course, the increase in numbers of drivers with pot in their system also means that other groups of people at the time would have had a similar increase in the use of the drug. These statistics do not mean that marijuana is a contributing factor in accidents or fatalities on the roads.
Proving that a driver is ‘stoned’ or not continues to be a difficult case to prove. If highway officers want to pursue any punishments for using marijuana bought legally from a cannabis dispensary and then driving under the influence, then congress will need to have many more debates before they can come to a decision that is fair for the driver. A zero tolerance policy would clearly be unfair, as it is difficult to ensure that your body is completely free from cannabis before driving, especially if you take the drug for medicinal purposes on a regular basis. This would mean that people would not be able to drive for weeks after using the drug.