Medical Marijuana Use Linked to Fatal Road Accidents
The legalization of the use of marijuana for medical purposes has led to an increase in pot use – this time, however, with a sense of legality to it, although federal law still considers any kind of marijuana use illegal.
While the purpose of medical marijuana is essentially to serve as an alternative treatment for patients seeking relief from pain and other symptoms associated with chronic illnesses, it could not be dissociated fully from its “other use” as a recreational drug.
A feature on the Los Angeles Times shared a statement from former Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske, White House director of National Drug Control Policy, who said: “Marijuana is a significant and important contributing factor in a growing number of fatal accidents… There is no question, not only from the data but from what I have heard in my career as a law enforcement officer.”
Kerlikowske’s comment was made in relation to a recent assessment released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which indicated that 16.3 percent of night drivers across the country have various legal and illegal impairing drugs in their system. Of this number, half are said to be high on pot.
The fact that a third of the states in the country have legalized the use of medical marijuana has prompted the conduct of scientific research into the impairing effects of medical marijuana. Another issue is that there is no national standard regarding the amount of drug that drivers ought to have in their blood.
Jeffrey P. Michael, impaired-driving director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said: “A lot of effort has gone into the study of drugged driving and marijuana, because that is the most prevalent drug, but we are not nearly to the point where we are with alcohol. We don’t know what level of marijuana impairs a driver.”medical marijuana, medical marijuana accidents, medical marijuana risks, medical marijuana use