Marijuana Use "Unacceptable" For Driving, Nation's Drug Cops Warn

Marijuana use is an automatic DUI in 19 states

By Chris Roberts
|  Monday, Dec 2, 2013  |  Updated 12:54 PM PDT
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Marijuana makes drivers unsafe at any speed, cops say.

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Even a tiny bit stoned is too stoned to drive, according to President Barack Obama's drug czar, who is issuing a warning on the danger posed by marijuana-smoking drivers.

Smoking marijuana before getting behind the wheel is "quite dangerous," according to
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy director Gil Kerlikowske, whose message is that "even a little intoxicated on marijuana is unacceptable," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

However, a set of conflicting studies appear to give evidence for both Kerlikowske's warnings as well as marijuana advocates who say law enforcement is stirring up baseless worry reminiscent of reefer madness, the newspaper noted.

In Colorado, traffic fatalities dipped 16 percent from 2006 to 2011 -- during which time the state's medical marijuana industry expanded greatly -- but fatalities involving marijuana expanded 114 percent, the newspaper reported.

There are other studies, like one conducted in 2012 at Dalhousie University Medical School in Canada, that says marijuana-impaired drivers are three times as likely to get into an accident -- and for every one like that, there are ones like the 2011 review that suggested marijuana users are substituting smoking for drinking alcohol and staying home rather than driving.

In California, no level of drugged driving is acceptable, but officers must prove that a driver is impaired by marijuana in order for there to be a DUI, the newspaper reported.
 

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