Pubdate: Mon, 20 Jun 2016
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2016 New Zealand Herald
Author: Dennis Sosnoski


"Nanogirl" Michelle Dickinson's article on the dangers of cannabis to 
teens isn't bad, but coming from someone who says she "is passionate 
about getting Kiwis hooked on science" it doesn't do very well on 
scientific accuracy.

She mentions a US state of Washington study by the AAA which reports 
fatal car accidents involving drivers who recently used marijuana has 
more than doubled since legalisation, which is fine - but she brings 
this up as an example of how cannabis can negatively affect road 
safety, and the AAA study shows nothing of the kind. In fact, fatal 
accidents have dropped in Washington state as well as other states 
where cannabis has been legalised - a decrease of up to 11 per cent 
in the first year after legalisation.

We don't know for certain why legalisation of cannabis seems to be 
making driving safer, even as more drivers have traces of cannabis in 
their systems.

The most likely explanation appears to be that people are using 
cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and that alcohol is a greater 
risk factor for driving than cannabis (either directly through 
impairment, or because of increased risktaking behaviour). This is 
backed up by a 13 per cent drop in drink-driving deaths in the states 
where cannabis has been legalised.

Dennis Sosnoski, Beach Haven.
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