Stories in the News, Viewpoints, Marijuana debate needs facts not propaganda

In past weeks marijuana legalization proponents have blithely told the public that while Alaska already has the highest use of marijuana in the country there “is no problem” on the roads because of it. We call that whistling in the graveyard. First, the law enforcement community believes that the 50 lives lost and the hundreds of people injured in motor vehicle crashes during 2013 in Alaska are too many, and we think the friends and families of those killed and maimed would agree. Secondly, while the proponents’ statements are presented as if they are fact, the truth is they are generally unsupported opinion not challenged by the press. Toxicology (testing of blood) is necessary to determine if marijuana impairment is a factor in a crash. Since toxicology is not universally reported on crash victims in Alaska, it is impossible to know what percentage of current Alaskan crashes are marijuana related, but a study (cited below) of severely injured drivers admitted to a major trauma center in Maryland showed more than 1 in 4 to be under the influence of marijuana. It is wishful thinking to say that marijuana is not currently causing problems on Alaska highways.

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