The medical establishment has determined 4/20 to be hazardous to motorists’ health.
And regardless of where you stand on pot consumption, the conclusion really isn’t surprising, is it?
In a research letter published today in JAMA Internal Medicine, Canadian doctor John Staples (blame Canada) delved into whether stoners celebrating the “High Holiday” known as 4/20 contribute to traffic fatalities.
“We examined a quarter-century of national data and found a 12 percent increase in the relative risk of a fatal traffic crash after 4:20 p.m. on April 20 compared with identical time intervals on control days,” he concluded. “Although the vast majority of Americans do not celebrate 4/20, the observed association was comparable in magnitude to the increase in traffic risks observed on Super Bowl Sunday. Policymakers may wish to consider these risks when liberalizing marijuana laws, paying particular attention to regulatory and enforcement strategies to curtail drugged driving.”
I’m not surprised. I’m a huge advocate of medical cannabis, and even support full-blown commercial legalization (at least in Illinois, for many reasons).
How did the doc arrive at his conclusion? Pretty deliberatively. He used U.S. NHTSA safety data regarding traffic fatalities after obtaining a waiver from his Canadian institution.
The study “includes data on all crashes involving a motor vehicle traveling on public roadways in which at least one participant died within 30 days of the event,” he wrote. “The study interval began the first full year after popularization of 4/20 in High Times magazine and extended to include the most recent year with data available, thereby reflecting 25 consecutive years (January 1992 to December 2016).”
Just this morning, I told my friend who drove me to the dispensary that a portion of the tax on cannabis, if recreational use were to be passed, must fund law enforcement. Specifically, it needs to fund enforcement of impaired driving.
I know this is tricky. How do you define “impaired?” And how do you measure for it?
I know I sold my Prius shortly after I got my medical cannabis card. Yes, I did wait for stop signs to turn green. Several times.
Many years ago, a colleague saw a story cross the AP wire about the future of cannabis. He read aloud how one day people would actually vape cannabis with stealth devices. He joked one could keep it in their desk and sneak a toke each day at 4:20!
My friends, that day has arrived.
Until next time.