A favorite argument of those who are against cannabis legalization is claiming that it will cause “stoned drivers” to clog our roadways and bring danger to all those who dare get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Data out of Washington – which voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012 – is disproving that claim. It seems that even though the number of drivers involved in “drugged driving” are testing positive for THC more and more, that actual numbers of those incidents are on the decline.
Between 2012 and 2013, the percentage of drivers in Washington charged with driving under the influence that had THC in their blood went from almost 19% to almost 25%. During the same period, the number of DUID arrests dropped from 1,621 to 1,357, a 16% decline.
Several things could account for this decline, but it seems that “stoned driving” would be something that law enforcement would be on the lookout for. Interestingly enough, drunk driving arrests fell by 11% for the same period.
Are more people smoking weed and ditching alcohol? Are more drivers getting high and staying home? Or are more drivers getting high and driving, but they aren’t getting caught because their driving isn’t bad enough to catch the attention of police? Are cops updating their Facebook status and just not paying attention?
As I said, many variables go into these numbers, but one thing is for sure: roads in Washington are not clogged with stoners bringing death and destruction to innocent motorists. That was never going to happen. One of the best things about states legalizing is we now get the stats that prove that those who prop up prohibition have been wrong all along.