I appreciated the October 13th TIME article, “Driving While High,” for its reminder that, ”…there is a dearth of scientific research on exactly how pot impairs driving and precisely how risky it is.” Since the DEA’s own Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young, after testimony from physicians in 1988, recommended the DEA reschedule marijuana as a medically viable drug- and was ignored- we’ve managed to remove facts, reason, and even the possibility of scientific research from the discussion on marijuana.
The good news is the article has all the facts we need. If it is true that studies show marijuana use can double the risk of a crash while alcohol increases by 13 times the risk of fatality, then clearly we should spend our efforts reducing drunk driving. A simple solution already in existence in other countries is a zero alcohol tolerance for all drivers. If we are worried about the increased risk pot smokers are bringing to the roads, then what is our opinion of accepted and celebrated cultural institutions that bring driving and drinking together such as biker bars, tailgate parties, and events that serve unregulated amounts of alcohol to people who drive to and from stadiums, bars, and restaurants every day.
When society (and the DEA) is ready to support and examine raw data on the danger that substances such as alcohol and prescription drugs (What is the legal limit of opioid pain relievers?) bring to the roads, then the 40 million pot smokers in the country will surely back the legislation that ensues.