Since the legalization of weed in Washington, various media outlets have reported a huge surge of Driving Under Influence cases. Essentially, there have been more Marijuana DUI’s. The anti-marijuana legalization crowd, both in Washington and elsewhere, are taking up these extra reported marijuana DUI cases and using them to push an anti-marijuana agenda.
When we talk about figures, we’re talking about the fact that marijuana DUI’s increased from 988 THC-positive drivers in 2012 to 2013’s figure of 1362 THC positive drivers. The 2014 numbers aren’t available yet, though they are expected to be almost double the number of 2013’s yearly total.
The California Attorney general has recently stated that she considers the legalization of marijuana inevitable, and yet anti-legalization lobbists will certainly attempt to use the figures whenever they can to support their own conclusions.
But let’s take an incredibly simple look at some of the flaws of the reports. Namely, the figures don’t tell us anything about legalization and its effect on DUI’s. The figures are going up, and if we assume the figures are true, then they are. This means that more people are getting caught with marijuana DUI’s. Does it mean that more people are smoking marijuana? Not necessarily. For instance, one night, a bar could have a hundred people drinking and getting too drunk to drive. One person could drive and get caught. The next night, only ten people are in the bar. Two drive, and two get caught. A report like the one above would lead you to believe that twice as many people were drinking on the second night as were on the first, when it was the complete opposite! It was also a magnitude more people were drinking on the first night than on the second.
If we apply this to the marijuana reports; it’s not like legalization meant that suddenly everyone went from not smoking pot to smoking pot the minute the ban was lifted. More likely, the money that was funding the war on the drug got diverted into funding for regulation. Therefore, instead of the amount of marijuana DUI’s being due to an epidemic of newly irresponsible pot smokers, it’s more likely that the ones who were going undetected are now being caught. Essentially, what should be a positive development coming from marijuana is turned into a negative.
The ability to catch people smoking marijuana and driving is going up. This isn’t a bad thing for responsible pot users; just ones that smoke pot and drive. But by suggesting that more marijuana DUI’s are occurring because marijuana smoking is no longer a crime is to take someone who isn’t a criminal and suggest that they are now a criminal because of skewed reports on people who commit a completely different crime (DUI).