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Everybody panic… because we don’t have enough evidence to induce panic

Marijuana Legalization Has Researchers Wondering If Traffic Deaths Will Rise

Why are they wondering? Because there’s no clear evidence that it’s going to happen and that’s frustrating them.

It’s not, however, stopping them from speculating…

What worries highway safety experts are cases like that of New York teenager Joseph Beer, who in October 2012 smoked marijuana, climbed into a Subaru Impreza with four friends and drove more than 100 mph before losing control. The car crashed into trees with such force that the vehicle split in half, killing his friends.

Of course… because that’s what you do when you smoke pot. Pot smoking makes you buy a Subaru, causes friends to get into the car with you, and then makes you drive 100 mph and crash into trees. That’s why, no matter where you look, you see nothing but split-in-half Subaru Imprezas everywhere.

Now, I once heard of a reporter who wrote an article for the Huffington Post and then had sex with a goat. It makes me wonder if we’re doing enough to protect the goat population from Huffington Post authors.

Admittedly, studies of Huffington Post article-authorship and goat-rape risk are “highly inconclusive.” Some studies show a two- or three-fold increase, while others show none. Some studies even showed less risk if someone was a writer.

Still, this should be a reason to be concerned for anyone who cares about the safety of our goats.

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40 comments to Everybody panic… because we don’t have enough evidence to induce panic

  • Frank W.

    I saw that same Joan Lowy article on another site (not the HuffPo adware festival). The scientific research found no connection between Evil Pot and road accidents, just prosecutors and gov’t bureaucrats. It’s Joanie who makes a connection because she has to put her fingers on a keyboard or not get paid.
    “Some say…”

  • allan

    Na-a-ay!

    The sound of beating a nearly dead horse…

    Neighbors at the farm across the road have goats. It’s always a hoot getting the kids bleating when I walk by and say “Hi-i-i-i ki-i-ds” in my best bleating Cowboy Bob voice. (young-uns google that w/ Howdy Doody)

  • According to the NHTSA, there were 10,322 drunk-driving fatalities in 2012–no worries there at all. Meanwhile, “authorities” wring their hands because of a tragedy caused not by “youthful indiscretion”, but in the words ofthe DA “reckless disregard”. The judge set aside lighter sentencing guidelines, for what he termed “a lack of remorse” on Beer’s part. To me, the story line is that the parents buy the spoiled rich kid a sports car, he gets four friends killed while acting like a schmuck, and shows no remorse. In Texas, a virtually identical thing happened last year, only the kid was black-out drunk. The judge let him off, citing a case of “affluenza”. (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/wealthy-16-year-old-killed-4-drunken-crash-spared-jail-article-1.1544508)
    So, our best thinkers, “the authorities” want Grandma in Grand Rapids to believe that Cannabis is going to turn every citizen into that jerk?
    There’s an old maxim that’s well worth remembering: Bad cases make for bad law.
    This republic can (and should) do better.

  • The difference in things is that people can buy pot legally instead of illegally. The users are the same ones who have been driving the roads of Joan Lowy’s world for a great many years with no trouble. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. They just went legal.

    The researchers wonder for the same reason there is a Kevin Sabet. Looking to make something bad to fear. The perfect reason to keep marijuana illegal. Fear.

    I fear the Joan Lowy’s of the world. Last years article from Joan: “Drunk walking leads to one-third of pedestrian fatalities” http://tinyurl.com/m3vyjvv

    What is to fear when statistics point in the opposite direction ?
    “Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows”
    http://tinyurl.com/p8z9tgy

    This is nothing but yellow journalism raising its ugly head.

    • claygooding

      I like to tell them there has been stoned drivers on the roads since the first cart was hooked up behind oxen and they were the safest drivers on the road then too.

    • B. Snow

      Holy-MadCow-Batman!
      I really didn’t believe that the drunk walking link would lead to a real “article” uhm “story” – and even calling it a “story” is being generous.
      I’d put both of these into the ‘Trying To Way Too Hard’ category, Joan has obviously run out of real ‘stuff’ to write about – possibly quite awhile ago.
      But she’s not letting that stop her from banging-out garbage for a paycheck!
      Are they paying ‘by the buzzword’ or something?
      Seriously, I could do that EASY – I have the time AND the ability, how does one get a job with the AP these days?

  • N.T. Greene

    I feel like I vaguely remember that kid’s story, and I’m still not impressed. At best, it is an exception — at worst, the kid’s blaming weed for his own irresponsibility. All I have to say is that in all my years of knowing smokers, I’ve never met one with a propensity for driving their car over 100mph for the fun of it. Not even when sober! So because some kid’s in the news for acting, well, like a total child, we have to keep on fighting the drug war? Hmmm.

    And I’m not hearing about too many other examples of stuff like this. What, having a hard time dredging up marijuana related deaths, guys?

    …wait

  • Citizen Teus

    Goats? Bwahahaha! “But what kind of message does this send to the kids!” “I dunno, keep away from HuffPo writers?”

  • Tony Aroma

    I worry that people who needlessly worry about things they needn’t worry about will work themselves into a tizzy. (That’s a technical term for a break with reality.) Which would certainly impair their driving ability. We need to make sure these people don’t get behind the wheel (or behind a goat).

  • Servetus

    Here’s a new one for the “Addiction Researchers are a Menace” category. Results from a just-published study on marijuana addiction funded by, are you ready? – the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (grant R01AA015526) – says its study proves the addictive qualities of marijuana. The study gets down to its flawed technique right away:

    At the study’s outset, substance use was likely to be more severe and consequences – such as missing work or school, financial and relationship problems – tended to be greater in participants reporting withdrawal symptoms, who also were more likely to have mood disorders. [Emphasis Added]

    …participants were divided into two groups – those who reported cannabis withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, depression and difficulty sleeping and those who did not. [Emphasis Added]

    The study’s glaring problem is that marijuana cannabinoids have been recognized as a treatment for depression since at least the mid-19th century, which is when the first papers were published on its anti-depressant effect. Anxiety, irritability, and difficulty sleeping are all symptoms of depression, along with low self-esteem, anhedonia, and so forth. What the researchers did was to take away a depressed patient’s self-administered, anti-depressant medication (marijuana), and then claim the symptoms of the consequential recurring depression are in fact symptoms of marijuana addiction withdrawal.

    Lacking acknowledgment of marijuana’s anti-depressant capabilities, the paper is one the most disingenuous pieces of research I’ve seen in some time. The study concludes with the standard repertoire requesting more research money to produce more specious conclusions by the addiction lobby:

    “Unfortunately, the general trend in attitudes in the U.S. is to minimize the risks and not recognize the addictiveness of cannabis,” [John Kelly, PhD, of the Center for Addiction Medicine in the MGH Department of Psychiatry] continues. “Further research is needed determine the impact of these changing public attitudes and investigate the benefits of programs that reduce these misconceptions, which could allow us to predict whether increased education and awareness could help reduce the onset of, and harm caused by, cannabis use disorders.”

    • N.T. Greene

      Let’s ignore, of course, that people with mood disorders are more likely to self-medicate in some way.

      …so instead of drugs causing the mood disorders, perhaps they should have paid attention to the wealth of evidence that a variety of factors can lead people to toking. Like stress, mood disorders, the desire to have a good time… used to help with anxiety, difficulty sleeping, depression, irritability…

      Of course that’s why they chose those factors!

      Confirmation bias, anyone? Cum proc ergo propter hoc?

      I sometimes forget we live in a world where logic is considered weak, and/or just difficult to understand…

  • ezrydn

    “Center for Addiction Medicine?” Description is lacking definition. Is it Medicine to block addiction or medicine to promote addiction? And the “investigate the benefits of programs that reduce these misconceptions?” You mean, like the pixs on ciggie packs? What a joke, not to mention a waste of money. Kelly needs to find a real job!

  • claygooding

    I wish it was only Huffpo writers,,every news outlet has it’s prohibitches among it’s ranks and that brings up Kapt’s and others mentions of how hard it is to admit you have been scammed.
    Reporters are supposed to be suspicious and search for the truth of their articles and news stories,,where is their suspicion when everything bad the government has claimed for the last 76 years on marijuana use have failed to materialize,,where are the asylums full of marijuana crazed patients????
    Where is their investigation of why the only source of these cries of doom come from the agencies charged with drug harm research while almost all independent research finds no harms? Where is the reporter’s suspicious nature when he reads a study by NIDA and finds medical applications that they ignore?
    If it is hard for the common citizen to admit they have been scammed how hard must it be for a reporter that claims he is doing his job and investigating the facts?

  • allan

    my counter to young Mr Beers… my son (now 21) has been driving for almost 5 years and hasn’t even been pulled over. And he drives a Subaru. A Subaru that he bought with his money because he had to work to buy his own car. He knows no goats.

    I hope that he beats my record of 44 years w/o a ticket (and I have been a pot smoker all those years).

    • Frank W.

      Bully for you, Allen, but you seem depressingly unparanoid, considering what we now know about NSA/law enforcement’s “shared intelligence” networks (like they wouldn’t be fishing on this very site?)

      • Driving While HIGH!

        Only 2 Down Arrows from NSA? You guys sleeping on the job?

      • allan

        Like many others these days Frank, paranoia is a non-factor. Hide in plain sight. The revolution rolls with or without me, I’m a small fish in a big pond.

        After driving Conde’s hemp garlandeded truck around Oregon for 5 years and putting my name on over 160 LTEs and opeds, paranoia hasn’t been anywhere near an issue for me. Or, as we used to say back in the big war (any of ’em, pick one), f***’ em if they can’t take a joke.

        • claygooding

          The only time I am paranoid is when a police car hits the blue lights in my proximity,,clean or not,,because I know being innocent has nothing to do with what may happen to you.

        • B. Snow

          Well, I for one can tell you that racial profiling does exist = And it works both ways, Dr. Alan here is has pointed out one of the “benefits” of ‘Driving While White.’
          And while, its NOT part of society to be proud of = it is indeed “a thing”. Also of note – wearing a seat-belt, not exceeding the speed-limit, not driving after dark w/ a broken headlight, and similar precautions = not giving them an obvious excuse to stop you, will help contribute to this effect.

          If you’re careful and fortunate – then one may indeed go years without being stopped at all. And even if you are stopped = behaving in a calm manner (even if you might have some reason to worry) and carrying-on with a respectful/deferential way – that some might call ‘social engineering’ in other contexts, can keep you out of trouble entirely.

          I’m not that its “fair”, in fact I’m saying that it isn’t – still it’s a simple facet of reality. And you may as well take advantage of it if & when possible.
          Volunteering yourself up for harassment isn’t going to help stop the mistreatment of other people.

          Do you concur Dr. Alan?

        • allan

          DWW… indeed, helps one helluva lot.

          But so does signaling when turning/changing lanes, having current tags, not tailgating, staying close to the speed limit… all that stuff helps one’s odds exponentially. Not driving while drunk is helpful…

          The fact that I am a good driver prolly kept me out of Texas’ prison system, driving across that big ass state as much as I did with as much as I did.

          I was stopped in Boise, one tail light out, had the fam with me, kids in car seats, me calm and polite (and white) and was dismissed with a “thank you Mr Erickson, get that light bulb changed.”

  • Time Warp

    We Must be Forever Vigilant, Lest Tyranny rear its Ugly Head Again!
    Lesson One, KinderGarten, 1963

  • primus

    Have they never read Chicken Little? The sky is falling the sky is falling. Oops it’s just a walnut.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      They also forgot to consider those pesky proverbial 4 and 20 blackbirds!
      .

      It appears to me that the outsiders have turned their collective back on Mr. Sabet:
      Marijuana education series featuring legalization

      A Tigard drug abuse prevention official who was helping coordinate a marijuana education series said Tuesday that some locations may not host the event and that she is no longer organizing the series….
      /snip/Ray Charles performing “Hit the Road Jack” live on SNL in 1998:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyVuYAHiZb8

      • Servetus

        Here’s what some supporters of the Madras conference are saying:

        The sheriffs’ association, which opposes marijuana legalization, announced late Monday that it would chip in [$10,000] towards the Madras conference, which like each stop in the series, will feature Kevin Sabet, a high-profile opponent of marijuana legalization.

        In a message posted to the association’s homepage, association president and Gilliam County Sheriff Gary Bettencourt said legalizing marijuana would “tear families apart and cause more deaths.”

        He wrote about routinely responding to calls involving people under the influence of marijuana and how many are “are hallucinating and often are not in their right mind.”

        “In these altered states, they believe such things like having the ability to stop a moving train or seeing airplanes spreading harmful chemicals down on to the earth from above,” Bettencourt wrote.

        “With the ‘dumbing down’ of society in regards to social, mental and physical addictions from marijuana, it is evident opponents are giving up on standing strong against the legalization of this problematic drug,” he wrote. “Do you want your children or grandchildren to smoke marijuana? If your answer is no, then you need to stand strong against the use of marijuana.”

        The sheriff’s association must have a lot of loose cash lying about if they’re donating it for a Sabet appearance. Drug cartel donations must be on the rise. What a waste to spend it on trashy anti-drug propaganda.

        • Windy

          Every single Sheriff who is in that association needs to be removed from office and replaced with one that understands the Constitutional duty of the position of Sheriff — to protect the residents of his/her county from ALL unconstitutional statutes and acts from ANY level of government. The prohibition of drugs is clearly unconstitutional, so instead of supporting prohibition the Sheriffs in EVERY county of these united States of America should be supporting the repeal of all “laws” criminalizing the cultivation/manufacture, distribution/trade/sale, and use of drugs to restore their formerly legal and unregulated status, or, at the very least, relegalization and regulation.

        • B. Snow

          “In these altered states, they believe such things like having the ability to stop a moving train

          Nope, that’s PCP, or possibly massive over-doses of things like Dramamine, Benedryl, or any of a number of similar OTC meds. That are perfectly safe unless you’re desperataely trying to get high. I knew people in the military that would try shit like that because it didn’t show up in piss tests.

          Or they’d do LSD if it was available, which was basically never.
          They’d settle for shrooms – only slightly more available, And much less likely to cause a hallucination that completely separates them from reality… of the “think you can literally fly” variety.
          As opposed to thought – “wouldn’t it be cool if I could just fly?”

          {Which BTW, is why nearly everybody asked about “what technology did you expect us to have by know?” = Is still waiting for their *long-promised* – “Personal Jetpack”, or a “Flying Jetson’s Car”.}

          or seeing airplanes spreading harmful chemicals down on to the earth from above,”

          Nope again, That’s schizophrenic conspiracy theorists.

  • allan

    mmm… also them girls be full fledged womenz now. All so colorful and sparkly and just bustin’ out in voluptuous kind budliness! And clear skies and mid to high 80s for days… 😀

    • claygooding

      watch the morning dew,,I had a friend miss shaking his bud one am and 1/3 of his crop got bud rot,,,growing marijuana is worse than chicken farming,,no days off and even 12 hours of inattention can reduce your crop.

      • allan

        back in the ’90s I lived in a pretty wooded location and my garden was limited in it’s daylight. I still grew and grew well. One fall was particularly damp. Went out one morning to goo-on-a-stalk. Very sad. That was my last grow with OR bred strains from the ’80s – MX, S-1, S-2… one of those was… very ocular affective.

        This year I have a 15 year OR bred, as yet unnamed strain. Collected pollen and fertilized a bud on each plant.

      • allan

        Ummm… I shake my bud in the morning too… but I don’t necessarily tell people about it.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    In one of the more bizarre byproducts of the ongoing re-legalization of cannabis, Afroman has apologized for publishing “Because I Got High” in 2001.

    Afroman Toking A New Approach to MarijuanaUse 13 Years after ‘Because I Got High’: A Music Times Exclusive

    /snip/
    Afroman has made a career, essentially, out of one song, and he is grateful for the opportunities it’s afforded him thus far. The 40 year-old who sits at the hotel south of Columbus has not shied away at all from his favorite habit. The reasons for partaking have shifted dramatically over the last decade however.

    “I was so ignorant when I wrote ‘Because I Got High,'” he explains, fingers rustling the bits of grey that have colored his beard. “I was just a drunk, exhausted rapper having fun…I didn’t know I was possibly damaging the progress of marijuana. I had no clue.”
    /snip/

    /snip/
    “It’s kind of like a fire extinguisher, in case of emergencies. I don’t think you should smoke anything,” he says, somewhat surprising considering his lyrical predilection. “But…before you shoot up Walmart, before you hit your kids, hit your wife: Break the glass. Smoke some weed.”
    /snip/

  • thelbert

    if these reserchers had any gumption they would get high and see if they could drive a car. what could go wrong?

  • DdC

    Stoned Driving- The fake crisis. Steve Elliott
    http://www.tokesignals.com/manufacturing-a-crisis-stoned-driving-epidemic-please/

    People can use cannabis and go snow-boarding (for instance). A sport that demands ultimate control of balance and visual/spacial awareness.

    Some have raised it to the Olympic level of competition- while smoking cannabis. At least one has been stripped of a gold medal because of a positive test for THC.

    But when that same “snow-boarder” just off the hill from performing aerial acrobatics, WHILE HIGH, gets to his car, they suddenly lose their sense of spacial acuity, depth perception, sense of speed, etc…

    How does this happen?

    How can they suddenly loose an ability they just had to use, at a very high level, to perform the precise spins, flips, and twists and “land” it, then loose those abilities when they get in a car?

    How can I/we smoke cannabis and still be able function on all levels well enough that the only way to “know” if you even smoke is to test your pee/blood/hair?

    Yet somehow when we get behind the wheel of a car we drive as bad or worse than a drunk?

    And there have been millions of us on the roads for at least 50 years. If it is anything as debilitating as alcohol. If it makes you so impaired that you loose all your senses- speed, depth perception etc. If it does anything remotely as bad as alcohol in the way it affects you. Where are the bodies?

    Where are the bodies from cannabis accidents? Where are the thousands of accidents? Where are the wrecked cars? Even if you can definitively say a few accidents were caused by “stoned” drivers. The number is LOW.

    No matter how you look at it Marijuana Is Safer Than Alcohol
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marijuana-Is-Safer-Than-Alcohol/377635325704883

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/10646919_10152238185701780_8579609600144075000_n.jpg?oh=63a6199ff2a5cc47bb2ed6db8ce12f18&oe=547C9DDA&__gda__=1417493391_5a960f09774d0167b0becfe5bcf97cec

    Cannabis Users Are Safer Drivers Than Non-Users, New Study Shows
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/363

    Cannabis use and Driving
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/623

  • Servetus

    Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper is featured on Colbert Nation and wants to demilitarize the police, starting with ending the drug war. Mr. Stamper blames the drug war for the onset of police militarization.