When grappling with the idea of legal cannabis, many people find themselves justifiably wondering, "but isn’t it dangerous to drive stoned?"
The short answer is yes. Driving while “stoned,” or under the influence of cannabis, can slow one’s reaction time and impair focus, causing an increase in the likelihood of an accident. The Association of Cannabis Professionals understands and appreciates this, which is why we lobby on behalf of sensible legislation to restrict stoned driving. The passage of proposition 64 will undoubtably decrease the number of stoned-driving incidents in California. This will happen because a great portion of the tax revenue will be dedicated to equipping California cops with the tools they need to stop stoned driving, including allocating resources to centers attempting to develop THC breathalyzers. These THC breathalyzers will be able to detect if a driver has an unsafe level of THC (the active chemical in cannabis that produces the “high”) in his or her system. It is already illegal to drive stoned, but patrol officers in California are not currently equipped to detect stoned driving, especially since the visual effects of being stoned are sometimes not as pronounced as the visual and olfactory signs one exhibits when he or she is drunk. Using the revenue obtained through legal sales of cannabis to equip every patrol car with a THC breathalyzer will reduce the number of stoned drivers on the road.
This is not an empty promise. The initiative guarantees at least $3 Million be annually allocated to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in order to detect and prevent stoned driving. In short, one answer to the stoned driving problem is to legalize cannabis. The idea that legalization will cause an immediate flood of stoned drivers to hit the road is unreasonable, as those driving stoned will soon face similar penalties to those who make the irresponsible and dangerous decision to drive drunk.