More Pot Equals More DUIs in Washington
The liberalization of marijuana laws is producing more impaired drivers according to the Washington State Patrol. There has been a 49-percent increase in the rate of positives for marijuana among drivers stopped by State Troopers for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence in the first six months of 2013 in the state of Washington — the first year after “recreational” marijuana use was legalized in Washington. This 49-percent increase is vis-à-vis positive test rates for Tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) — the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — for drivers stopped in 2012 and 2011 (years in which there was no increase in positive rates for THC among stopped drivers). This increase is despite the fact that commercial marijuana dispensaries will not even open in Washington until next year.
The bottom line is that significantly more drivers pulled over by police in Washington state are above the state’s THC legal limit (five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood) since “recreational” marijuana was legalized in a state ballot initiative. Is this what Washington voters had in mind? More impaired drivers on our highways and in our neighborhoods? Nearly 50 percent more? And this is the beginning. Substance abuse is the #1 killer on our highways according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (a clear majority of fatal over-the-road vehicular accidents involved substance-abuse-impaired motorists). And now — in Washington — we have more substance-abuse-impaired motorists. — Mark A. de Bernardo