Marijuana.com claims that some high ranking officials in the American alcohol industry spent a great deal of money persuading Congress to deal with the problem of “marijuana-impaired driving”.
Hightimes.com, a popular cannabis related website and magazine, reports that someone found an ad in the May 24, 2016 edition of Huddle, a paid advertisement from the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. Huddle is a daily newsletter produced by the Politico Website.
The add states that: “WSWA believes states that legalize marijuana need to ensure appropriate and effective regulations are enacted to protect the public from the dangers associated with the abuse and misuse of marijuana… In the years since the state legalized medicinal use, Colorado law enforcement officials have documented a significant increase in traffic fatalities in which drivers tested positive for marijuana… Congress should fully fund Section 4008 of the FAST Act (PL 114-94) in the FY 2017 Appropriations process to document the prevalence of marijuana impaired driving, outline impairment standards and determine driving impairment detection methods.”
What is interesting to note is that this ad and statement only shows up in the e-newsletter of Huddle, and nowhere else. Another point is that this newsletter is only sent to Congress members and Capitol Hill insiders.
In 2015 the number of traffic fatalities in the US was around 38, 300, which actually shows an increase when compared to past decades. The Fixing Americas Surface Transportation act, approved by Obama in December, gave 305 billion dollars towards highway and motor vehicle safety. It addresses marijuana’s influence over driving, and calling forth for an investigation over this occurrence.
However, while Colorado, for instance, has seen an increase in road fatalities since its legalization, this increase is consistent with the national trend, with other states where cannabis is not legalized. What the Huddle statement failed to mention was a 2011 study showing reduction in traffic fatalities in states where medical marijuana is legalized, most likely because people now have the option of choosing marijuana over alcohol, the latter of which causes much more severe driving impairment.