Public safety advocates initiate campaign to stop marijuana-impa - KUSI News - San Diego, CA

Public safety advocates initiate campaign to stop marijuana-impaired drivers

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SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Most of us know that driving drunk can be dangerous and deadly, but as the State of California gets ready for the first legal sales of marijuana for recreational use, there's a new push to warn people about the consequences of drugged driving. 

A public safety advocacy group called "SAM" or Smart Approaches to Marijuana has launched an education and awareness campaign about the dangers of driving while high on marijuana.

The president of SAM, Dr. Kevin Sabet said statistics from other states point to a link between marijuana use and a sharp rise in traffic deaths. He cited a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that indicated marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 66 percent in Colorado since the state legalized pot in 2013.

Sabet also cited a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that showed fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana in Washington more than doubled after the sale of recreational marijuana in that state became legal.

One of the problems with enforcing the DUI law when it comes to marijuana is the lack of a standard to measure THC intoxication. Michael Cindrich, an attorney who represents many cannabis-related businesses said it comes down to observing the driver's behavior in judging whether a person is capable of driving safely.

While no one wants to see more DUI-related crashes, Cindrich said we need more accurate information on the effects of marijuana before we can begin to change laws and regulations. He said there are numerous studies that show no connection between marijuana consumption and traffic collisions.

A study published in August 2017 in the American Journal of Public Health concluded that crash fatality rates in Washington and Colorado did not change after recreational marijuana was legalized and were not statistically different from those in similar states without legal recreational marijuana.

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