A new study just put out by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has once again proven that Americans are misinformed, and therefore easily confused, when it comes to cannabis use and driving a car.
As cannabis reform sweeps the nation, so too does a new round of the same stale talking points about the supposed dangers of marijuana use that have been regurgitated for decades, always muddying the waters of the debate.
If the numbers revealed in the AAA study are anywhere near accurate, all it would prove is that you can probably train a monkey to hate bananas with the right amount of propaganda.
According to the study, “nearly half” of Americans fear that “drug-impaired driving” is more rampant and more of a threat now than it was just 3 years ago.
The implication to the casual reader is that since weed started being legalized in states like Colorado and Washington, and more recently Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C., the world is a more dangerous place.
First of all, notice that these studies always choose the dogwhistle term “drug-impaired”, or something very similar. It is never “cannabis-impaired”, because even though the entire gist of their press release is to generate an anti-cannabis sentiment in the reader, it is obviously way scarier to invoke the subliminal thought of “drugs” instead.
Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety warns that marijuana use “can impair driving performance for up to 3 hours”.
Let’s give Mr. Kissinger the benefit of the doubt, and assume he really does have test results to back up his claim:
How often does the driver use marijuana?
What is their body metabolism?
Have they eaten that day?
Was the marijuana smoked, vaporized, ingested, or applied topically?
What strain of cannabis is being used on each subject? Is it Indica or Sativa?
Were the subjects fully rested before the test?
Do they take any other prescription medications?
Are they perhaps just shitty drivers to begin with?
None of these questions or variables are ever mentioned, and likely never even considered, if or when these tests are conducted.
AAA claims that 1 out of 6 Americans say that “where they live, most people feel it’s acceptable to drive one hour after using marijuana.”
Who can argue with that science?!
Usually when a research article is seeking legitimacy, it does not rely on what a poll respondent thinks his or her neighbor may be feeling at any particular time. There is not a whole lot of room for feelings in real, unbiased science.
So, according to AAA, 50% of Americans are apparently scared shitless of “drugged” drug-using druggie drivers and another 84% of them think that under no circumstances should anyone of any age or tolerance level should ever get behind the wheel after smoking cannabis with an undefined potency level.
Yet, by their very own numbers, apparently only 25% of Americans show any concerns whatsoever for driving under the influence of prescription pills.
That’s right, despite the fact that just one shot of prescription cough syrup can put a driver over the legal limit for their Blood Alcohol Content, and the fact that certain antidepressants can increase your risk of being in a traffic accident by up to 41%, we allegedly don’t feel that it is even half as important as driving on weed.
So yeah, “confused” may be an understatement.
“Sixteen states forbid any presence of prohibited drugs, while five others have specific limits for marijuana,” says Kissinger. “With a lack of uniformity,” he continues, “it’s no surprise we found that more than half of American drivers are unaware of the laws that exist in their state.”
He’s right, it really is no surprise when you consider how much bullshit gets injected into this debate every time it is brought up, fueled by perpetually flawed studies like this latest one by AAA.