Will Washington State drugged driving fatalities trigger fed intervention?

marijuana leaf_thb

by NW Spotlight

Data released recently from the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission showed that “Fatal crashes involving marijuana doubled in Washington after legalization.”

The Oregonian reported “The number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for active THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, had held fairly steady from 2010 to 2013 — between 32 and 38 per year. That number jumped to 75 in 2014, and about half were above the state’s legal limit for marijuana-impaired driving,” adding “many of those drivers also tested positive for alcohol or other drugs.”

Responding to the data, Washington Traffic Safety Commission member Shelly Baldwin said “That’s alarming – especially considering that the number of alcohol-related fatal crashes has been dropping.”

That means that Washington State is violating the “Cole memo” priority of preventing drugged driving:

“Preventing drugged driving and exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use.”

Although marijuana use remains a federal crime, “The current administration in Washington, D.C., has determined that they will not make enforcing existing federal drug laws a priority in the case of marijuana. In August 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice sent out the ‘Cole memo’ as guidance on how it would prioritize enforcement of federal marijuana drug laws. States not in compliance with the ‘Cole memo’ are more likely to be subject to federal enforcement.”

The “Cole memo” states “If state enforcement efforts are not sufficiently robust to protect against the harms set forth above, the federal government may seek to challenge the regulatory structure itself in addition to continuing to bring individual enforcement actions, including criminal prosecutions, focused on those harms.”

Based on the “Cole memo,” not only are individual marijuana users at risk of “enforcement actions” in Washington, but the state’s marijuana legalization “regulatory structure” is also at risk from the feds.

  • stonepony

    I often drive while completely roasted on some toasted THC and nothing bad has happened. It is not as bad as driving after drinking, I can tell you that. These are isolated incidents that don’t really reflect reality.
    Plus, I see more clearly when buzzed out and thus, am able to drive like Steve McQueen, if you know what I mean.

    • Ridgemont Holmnes

      The die is set with urine being stoned, stoneponey!
      Yeah, sober citizens know what a crock of sh*tz in your spleen you crock of felony pilot blight.

  • thevillageidiot

    This “study” “report” “fairy tale” is seriously flawed. it reads more like “he said she said” than a valid study. major questions like was THC even measured in any fatalities before 2012? 2010? the news story it only says THC was present. Measurable, trace amounts remain in the blood long after the effects have worn off. the report also admitted that alcohol above the legal limit and other drugs were measured. so what caused the fatalities? have the miles driven increased? has the rate of fatalities increased with the increase of miles driven? bottom line until there are verifiable facts about the inebriation and reactions of THC vs Alcohol vs prescription vs illegal drugs etc the report remains invalid. This article does do one thing gets people talking about and considering verifiable consequences and shows the Main stream Media and law enforcement have an agenda. where are the studies? BTW Colorado does not show the same correlation.

    • redbean

      Excellent questions. Bet the for-profit prisons and the drug cartels love these “stories.”

  • Voice of Reason

    If prohibition for drugs that cause traffic fatalities made any sense, the first drug to target would be alcohol.

    • U R Driving Miss Daisy CR8Z 2

      The weight of marijuana on the ladder of excess tends to increase more strain and unsteadiness. Perchance, your driving remark made from a cell phone on the way over to WeedMart?

  • Robert Collins

    This is bogus. Totally bogus. Especially after they admitted most of the “stoners” were on another drug as well. Alcohol. Drunk driving kills, whether you are smoking pot, tobacco, or nothing at all. This study is a total crock.

    • redbean

      Not to mention allergy meds or a fight with your significant other or boss (LOL- hopefully not the same person) clouding your judgment.