Advocates of the law say the legalization of medical marijuana is long overdue for North Carolina. Dan Haggerty takes WRAL viewers questions to the experts about whether marijuana use can lead to car crashes.
yes. Well, welcome back. I’m Dan Hagerty. Welcome. So let’s get back to burning. We continue our discussion about medical marijuana after all, big news today. A medical marijuana legalization bill has been approved in the Senate and a final vote is expected on Monday. Now, I’ve already made a couple of stories about it. You may remember. You can find it on the WRL Youtube channel. If you’d like, just email me at dan at WRL dot com and I’ll send you a link if you’re interested. An anonymous viewer wrote to me and Dan said. I’m curious to know how many more people die from marijuana in car accidents than in alcohol accidents. Well, I can’t tell you right away that alcohol plays a role in much more accidents than any other single substance that we’ve been given a clue about. But I think you’re also asking something else that a lot of other people were curious about what would happen or what might happen on the roads if medical marijuana became legal. The truth is, we don’t really know. I can show you some studies that say changes in marijuana laws are not associated with increased traffic deaths. I can also show you studies that say the opposite that research links marijuana legalization to car accidents and injuries. An article details a 2019 study that found that car accidents in Colorado increased by 10% after legalization. Colorado has legal marijuana for longer than anyone else. So I called the Colorado Department of Justice, which did its own study in 2021 about weeds and driving disability and came up with another conclusion. When you look at, you know the direction. trends over the past decade. Uh, there is, in fact, a slight decrease in the total number of arrests, filings and convictions in the DUI. So why do all these studies come up with different answer statements and different statements. Take this address from the Denver Post. It kind of defines this whole puzzle. She says marijuana-related traffic deaths have risen sharply in Colorado, which is legitimizing the blame. The authorities say the numbers cannot be linked definitively to legitimize fate. One of the things that we discovered very quickly is that there is really very poor data on impeding driving with anything other than alcohol. The truth is law enforcement, hospitals and medical examiners. They simply haven’t tracked marijuana’s effects on accidents and deaths with any consistency until legalization. So of course the numbers look. If you are not looking for something and suddenly you are looking for something, you will find more of it. something. Let’s go back to the post-Denver story, which explains why it says state law doesn’t require detectives to specifically test deceased drivers for marijuana in deadly shipwrecks. Some do, some don’t, and many police agencies say they don’t pursue cannabis tests for a survivor driver whose blood alcohol level is already high enough to be charged with a crime because the police want a conviction and marijuana isn’t really going to help them get there because it’s really hard to know what If someone is high. No Weed Breathalyzer Depending on how much you smoke or how often you smoke marijuana it can show up in your urine or blood anywhere from one day to a month. So if someone had a positive marijuana crash test, there’s no way to be sure they were high before the crash or last week, let’s be naive. It is widely known that driving at a height can make you a much worse driver. This study demonstrates poor judgment, slow reaction, and lackluster coordination. That’s clinical consensus, no matter what your wise college friend told you while driving when you’re high is dangerous. Therefore, the breakdowns may have occurred due to rationing, or the timing may be a coincidence, and it has risen for thousands of other reasons. Colorado may not know for sure. But we still have a chance to look at your data collection systems now and see what data we’re interested in collecting, whether it’s because of a driving disability, or whether it’s a crime. Is this something we have now and if not, what do we need to do to improve our data collection systems. I’ve been asking if I’m interested, I can continue to do this and ask around our state to find out exactly what and how we keep track of all of this stuff. When I first started working on this story about a month ago, I was receiving a kind of escape via email. No one really seems to know who is sending me to find this answer, which may be a clue in itself, or maybe not. Meanwhile, a medical marijuana bill has passed the Senate with bipartisan support and we’ll move to the House afterward. And if it passes there, I’m sure Cooper will sign it. If you have any questions, I’m your friend send an email at W re L dot com.