It’s almost sad to watch police lobbyist John Lovell flailing away in search of viable arguments to prop up the failed policy of marijuana prohibition (Capitol Weekly, Nov. 19, “What would marijuana legalization look like?”).
Lovell points to studies showing that driving under the influence of marijuana is risky — a point on which everyone agrees — but fails to note that the dangers those studies describe occurred under prohibition. If anything, these studies are proof that our current laws don’t protect us from impaired drivers.
He then makes the completely unfounded assumption that legally regulating marijuana production and sales would lead to more impaired drivers, though there isn’t a scintilla of evidence that this is the case. As the story notes, marijuana has been effectively legal in the Netherlands for over three decades, and the Dutch rate of marijuana use is less than half of ours. And the National Research Council, in a report commissioned by the White House, found “little apparent relationship between severity of sanctions prescribed for drug use and prevalence or frequency of use.”
In the last three decades, drunk driving deaths have been cut in half through a combination of tough enforcement and education campaigns promoting designated drivers and responsible alcohol use. Once we abandon the ridiculous notion — now embedded in law — that all marijuana use equals “abuse,” we can have similarly successful campaigns regarding responsible marijuana use.
Director of Communications
Marijuana Policy Project