A summit advocating for safe marijuana use was held at Catamaran Resort Hotel in San Diego Tuesday.
Experts and advocates for safe cannabis consumption came out to speak. One of the speakers was Corinne Gasper of Ohio, who lost her 22-year-old daughter, Jennifer, in a car crash in 2012.
“She was on her way to work going through a green light. A man came racing through the red light going 82 miles per hour,” recalled Gasper. “He slammed into the side of my daughter. My daughter was pronounced dead at the scene. The man was high on medical marijuana.”
Gasper said Jennifer had just graduated college and was looking forward to a career in intelligence analysis.
“People think marijuana is a victimless crime,” said Gasper. “I’m here to tell you there are victims. There’s many of them out there and my daughter is one of them.”
The summit also promoted a new website bringing attention to the dangers of driving while under the influence of cannabis. The website, HIGHmeansDUI.org, displays news articles of car crashes caused by drivers high on pot.
Some argue that marijuana does not noticeably impact a driver's ability behind the wheel.
A study conducted by R. Andrew Sewell, MD, and published in 2009 states, “Laboratory tests and driving studies show that cannabis may acutely impair several driving-related skills in a dose-related fashion, but that the effects between individuals vary more than they do with alcohol because of tolerance, differences in smoking technique, and different absorptions of THC.”
“The problem with marijuana is you have no insight that you’re impaired,” said Dr. Roneet Lev, Chief of the emergency room unit at Scripps Hospital. “You think you’re fine, you’re feeling fine. And then you get behind the wheel and potentially kill multiple people.”
Dr. Lev added she sees patients daily in the emergency room that are there because of marijuana poisoning and panic attacks due to cannabis.