Kayla Mendoza's Mistake Doesn't Mean Marijuana Shouldn't Be Legalized

medical marijuana 13.jpg
The Kayla Mendoza "2 drunk 2 care" story is tragic. And, as anything this senseless and calamitous is prone to do, it has brought up a lot of passionate opinions, anger, and outrage.

Most notably, people have taken to the comments in our original post of this story to debate the effects of marijuana when it comes to driving and whether this incident is a reason why it shouldn't be legalized in Florida.

Mendoza called herself the "pothead princess" on Twitter, and her account is riddled with allusions to smoking weed.

But this isolated incident should not halt the drive to legalize marijuana in Florida.

Here's why:

See also: Alleged Killer Kayla Mendoza Tweets "2 Drunk 2 Care" Before Causing Horrific Accident

First of all, statistically speaking, weed alone just doesn't cause traffic deaths.

In July 2012, the National Institute on Drug Abuse cited a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study that showed 6.8 percent of motorists involved in accidents tested positive for cannabis.

Certainly Mendoza falls into this category. But keep in mind that she allegedly had booze in her system in addition to weed.

Six percent is nothing. An argument can be made that the reason the number is low is due to marijuana being illegal. But a better question would be: How many of these drivers also had booze in their system as well as weed (like Mendoza allegedly had)? There's also a matter of dosage and consumption.

Secondly, weed, on its own, is not a bad thing.

We already know that alcohol severely impairs driving. In this 2009 article, Yale psychiatrist Richard Sewell found that booze is far more dangerous for drivers than weed.

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11 comments
malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16 topcommenter

On 29-Nov-2011, a study was published by University of Colorado Denver Professor Daniel Rees and Montana State University Assistant Professor D. Mark Anderson showing states that have legalized medical marijuana experience fewer fatal car crashes compared to states that have not. The researchers suggest that there may be fewer fatal drunk driving accidents in those jurisdictions because more people may be choosing to smoke marijuana instead of making the more dangerous choice of consuming alcohol - both traffic fatalities and alcohol consumption declined.

The rate of fatal crashes in which a driver had consumed any alcohol dropped 12% after medical marijuana was legalized, and crashes involving high levels of alcohol consumption fell 14%. The study thoroughly accounted for other contributing factors regarding this decrease, such as changes in the number of miles traveled each year and new traffic laws.

"Our research suggests that the legalization of medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities through reducing alcohol consumption by young adults," - Daniel Rees, professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver who co-authored the study with D. Mark Anderson, assistant professor of economics at Montana State University.

winsomelosesome
winsomelosesome topcommenter

"6 percent is nothing" Regarding  marijuana caused accidents

"A new study shows a 9 percent drop in traffic deaths where pot has been made legal. It's not a huge number. But it's significant enough to take note."

Nice convenient logic.  Ignore one.  Highlight the other.

elisha83
elisha83

I feel while operating a vehicle you shouldn't be under the influence of ANYTHING that alters or impairs your judgment. Obviously alcohol impairs you but so does marijuana it slows your response time.  But I also feel that unlike alcohol marijuana has a lot of positive uses so it should be legal for those that have a reason to be on it. It's a scary idea though because there is nothing to stop people that abuse/overuse any substance from getting into a car and believing they are fine to drive and hurting or killing innocent people. If every car had a tube you had to blow in order for it to start that would be great....I know people would find away around that too just like synthetic urine for drug tests!! Technology is a blessing and a curse

smdrpepper
smdrpepper topcommenter

She drove while drunk, so what does her saying she smokes as well have anything to do with it?  It was the alcohol in her system that caused her to murder those people.

sabbrosso
sabbrosso

There is a lot more stuff going on the roads as well. Drugs affect people in different ways and we have numerous legal and illegal ones out there. Lack of sleep is another factor, poor mechanical condition of vehicles, multitasking while driving, particularly texting is a major cause of accidents. So the 16 yo teenager typing constantly while driving is more of a danger than the 70 yo on a few medications. I see on a daily basis people changing lanes or making turns without signaling to other drivers what their intention is.  

It is time to change driving attitudes, to look at it as a privilege and as a responsibility to society, your family and yourself. We have to stop blaming other factors like drugs when clearly selfishness, irresponsibility and the thought of owning the road for oneself are some of  the main problems. Law enforcement and public health officials have to get a little more engaged in this, with more science and hard data instead of fear mongering and empty talking points.

NotWorthIt
NotWorthIt

Well she was drunk for one, so it'd be alcohol getting banned.

Michael Aaron Hoffman
Michael Aaron Hoffman

good logic new times. that girl is a f'n idiot. i hope the lives of the two that she took weighs heavily on her.

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16 topcommenter

@winsomelosesome

The often cited statistic that 6-8% of drivers in motor accidents test positive for marijuana is a case-book example of mistaken causality. A positive test merely indicates that the driver has used marijuana sometime in the past 90 days. Since roughly 7% of the population uses marijuana on a monthly basis, the 6-8% statistic, far from proving anything about the effects of marijuana, simply affirms what should be expected.

elisha83
elisha83

@sabbrosso very well said! I have said for awhile now that a drivers license is no longer thought of as a privilege like it was for my generation and those before me.  But I would rather be out on the road with someone who sober and selfish than under the influence and selfish...  

winsomelosesome
winsomelosesome topcommenter

@malcolmkyle16 @winsomelosesome 

Should we develop a test that is more recent? If that test correlated with the 6-8% would that change your mind?  I doubt it. 

"Roughly 7% of the population uses marijuana on a monthly basis"  NIce stat.  Where did it come from? I think that number would be very hard to quantify.

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