It has been around 7 years since Washington, the first US state, decided to legalize cannabis. Since then, 16 other states have followed suit. Critics repeatedly expressed fears that this measure would have a negative impact on road safety. They painted horrific pictures on the wall of motorists vaping cannabis at the wheel and thereby endangering their fellow citizens. Enough time has now passed to take stock. Have the critics' predictions come true? Or is everything half as bad?
Cannabis and CBD at the wheel - what is allowed?
Even though cannabis is now legal in much of the United States, drivers of course have to adhere to special rules. The same applies to alcohol: If you drive after consuming the intoxicant, you can expect your license to be withdrawn, fines or even imprisonment. The only exception is for CBD, a non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that is also available pure.
If you take a few puffs on your vape pen before you set off, you don't have to worry - provided you are using one pure CBD liquid without other cannabis ingredients. With regard to road traffic, the legal situation has not changed. Still, it is conceivable that legalization has led to an increase in car journeys under cannabis. There are two possible reasons for this.
Possible reasons for an increase in drug trips
For one, it is possible that legalization in general has resulted in more people using cannabis. And the more car owners smoke cannabis, the more often someone will - intentionally or accidentally - get behind the wheel while under the influence of cannabis. However there is no evidence of itthat the number of consumers will increase significantly as a result of legalization. Another possibility would be that the attitudes of the users towards cannabis change. For one, it could be because they are less afraid of the police. On the other hand, it could be that the legalization gives the impression that cannabis is less dangerous than expected. In fact, there is some evidence that legalizing cannabis is changing consumer attitudes. So it is conceivable that legalization has led to more drug driving. To find out whether this is actually the case, it is necessary to take a look at the statistics.
More trips under the influence of cannabis
Indeed, the data is cause for concern. After the legalization of cannabis, the authorities are removing significantly more drivers from the traffic THC in the blood to have. This suggests a risk to road safety. Because cannabis affects, among other things, reaction time, concentration and visual perception. It is not yet clear whether the increase in drug use has also led to an increase in accidents. Nevertheless, the states are already responding to these challenges with new regulations. It is to be expected that new limit values for the THC concentration in the blood will be issued in the near future and the number of controls will also be increased in many places. Despite all the enthusiasm for the new freedom, drivers in the US must therefore be careful not to endanger themselves or others through irresponsible behavior
Of course, that wasn't the end of it.
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