At a recent AAA Summit on Impaired Driving held in New Jersey, several speakers urged lawmakers in the state to wait on deciding on cannabis legalization until more is known about how marijuana impairment affects driving.
“This is a big deal,” said Jake Nelson, Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA. “We’re legalizing a drug for fun without really understanding how to manage the highway safety implications of it. Not to mention all the other political and social issues that come with it.”
Here we see some classic talking points from those ignorant about cannabis. The first is about how marijuana users are just looking to have fun, completely discounting the tens of millions of people who use it every day for every ailment imaginable, from cancer to stress relief. The second is the implication that we just don’t know what’s going to happen in society when millions of people start smoking marijuana, ignoring the fact that tens of millions of people already do.
What you are supposed to take away from that is we just can’t risk the consequences of taxed and regulated marijuana sales because we don’t know what’s going to happen and these hippies just want to smoke grass for the fun of it anyway.
Kansas Trooper Sean Hankins also spoke at the summit, claiming that an increase in traffic fatalities in his state is directly attributable to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. “We have a lot of weed in our state, thanks to Colorado. It’s not a coincidence we have increased number of fatality crashes, because the legalization of marijuana is occurring all across this country.”
Here again we see classic prohibitionist propaganda. To say something in “no coincidence” sets in stone that there is definitely a link between one thing and another. But it could completely be a coincidence, and most likely is.
“What it says is, someone at some point in time, like last month or so, used cannabis,” said Bill Caruso from the advocacy group New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform. “And at some point in time was involved in a fatal accident. So they’ve seen an increase in people using cannabis, and fatal accidents, but not a correlation between.” So even if someone does test positive for THC in their system, this obviously does not speak to impairment.
Prohibitionists rely on old talking points because they have nothing else. Marijuana legalization is coming and the only thing they can hope to do is slow it down.