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Well That Didn't Take Long

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Last month, Washington state legalized (as a matter of state law) the recreational use of marijuana.  Earlier this week, we saw what the "recreation" looks like, as reported on a Fox TV station.  As the story notes, "Police believe this is the first deadly crash involving the drug since it became legal in the state of Washington."

Some caveats:  There were of course deadly crashes involving pot before it became "legal."  And the pedestrian here appears to have been partly to blame.  There is no indication that the driver was smoking pot simply because it had become legal; he might have been smoking it for years, so far as the story reveals.

But none of that is the point.  The point consists of several facts:  (1) that, as everyone knows, marijuana decreases percipient ability, reaction time and reflexes; (2) therefore, if you drive while impaired by pot, you are, not to put too fine a point on it, a menace; (3) that legalization reduces the risks and costs of using that which is legalized, and sends a signal of official acceptance; and (4) when that happens, usage will increase and, inevitably, more people will be driving around stoned.  None of this is rocket science, and all of it was or should have been known before the referendum.

The bottom line is that increasing the easy availability of dope will increase its use, and increased use is going to get more people killed.  That seems, to me at least, to be too high a price to pay for a "freedom" as frivolous and juvenile as the "freedom" to get blasted.

1 Comment

Well, as you know, people are fundamentally responsible for their actions. Just as having more guns available doesn't make people less responsible for murders, having pot available doesn't make drivers less responsible for negligent manslaughters.

In addition, it appears that pot legalisation might be associated with fewer traffic fatalities due to the substitution effects of less alcohol consumption: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2012/11/marijuana-reduces-drunk-driving-fatalities.html

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