Researchers from Columbia University recently reported that if a person is under the influence of alcohol, their chances of being involved in an accident are 13 times greater than a normal sober driver. If the driver is under the influence of marijuana, the chances of an accident increase by 24 fold.[i]
This “research,” and the corresponding publicity, come as no surprise. We have been predicting for a long time that as drunk driving arrests continue to decline politicians will be looking for new ways to replace the lost revenue; and the plan is to accomplish this with more arrests for intoxicated driving where the intoxication is due to drug consumption.
To make way for this ongoing law enforcement prerogative, “research” is conducted and then publicized. Through repeated exposure, eventually, the public gets the message; drugged driving is a public safety problem and drugged drivers are a menace. The government’s goal? To make sure that all arrests results in conviction; because if there is no conviction then there is no income for the government. In fact there’s a net loss, since all the effort and expense involved in making the arrest has resulted in no financial return.
Since marijuana is the most commonly used illicit or near illicit drug, it makes sense to begin the “research” there. It would be most interesting to learn who funded this research and for what purpose? It would also be interesting to learn how the tests for marijuana were done? Did the researchers test for active THC or just a metabolite of THC? A metabolite only shows prior consumption whereas active THC might show intoxication. Also, what criteria were used to determine if the marijuana actually contributed to the accident? Was there actual causation, or did the researchers merely uncover meaningless correlation?
Look to see an ever increasing number of researchers performing research of questionable scientific integrity regarding drugged driving. Such articles give apparent authority to the corresponding increase in the publicity surrounding the dangers posed by drivers under the influence of drugs like marijuana.
In Michigan there has already been a dramatic increase in the numbers of arrests for driving under the influence of marijuana. Michigan calls the crime OWI, which is the same acronym used for an alcohol case. In part this is because in Michigan a conviction for OWI marijuana carries exactly the same consequences as OWI alcohol.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana in Michigan, then contact the Barone Defense Firm for your FREE case evaluation.
Patrick T. Barone
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