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“Drugged Driving” is Becoming a Prominent Argument Agaisnt Marijuana Legalization


Let me start this post saying that in no way do I condone driving under the influence of marijuana. I am not stating that there is no danger from driving while stoned.

I came across an article today while doing my rounds, and it caught my eye:

A recent study by the National Institute of Health put 85 subjects (50 men and 35 women) in driving simulators, some having smoked pot and others a placebo cigarette, to see if marijuana uniquely affected men or women while driving. The study found there was no difference between the two sexes. The part I was interested in was in crash avoidance and basic driving, the stoned group also showed no difference in driving performance and performed as well as the group that received the placebo. The study goes on to state that the stoned group drove slightly slower when distracted, suggesting they were using “additional compensatory skills.”

This study intrigued me because I have been hearing so much lately about how terrible drugged driving is and how it will be just like having twice as many drunk drivers on the road if marijuana is legalized. So I decided to try and find more studies like this that compared driving completely sober to driving under the influence of marijuana. I found two different types:

Some of the studies directly compared marijuana to alcohol and the affect they both have on one’s motor skills. In every study I could find, the subjects that were under the influence of marijuana were much more competent drivers that the ones who had consumed alcohol. This information is really common sense to those of use who either consume marijuana or are constantly around people who consume it, but it’s obvious the rest of the world needs more proof.

Most of the studies, however, just compared the affects marijuana had on someone’s driving ability. As I stated at the beginning of the article, MARIJUANA DOES AFFECT DRIVING ABILITY and in no way am I claiming the opposite, but these studies were full of generalizations and doublespeak. Most studies had conclusions writen like this (quoted from www.drugabuse.gov): “Evidence from both real and simulated driving studies indicates that marijuana can negatively affect a driver’s attentiveness, perception of time and speed, and the ability to draw on information obtained from past experiences.” Now, I don’t argue with that at all, but I guarantee that a study about “tired drivers” or “drivers listening to loud music” or “driving in the rain” would yield identical results.

What I am trying to accomplish here is separate the risks of drugged driving and drunk driving. In no way is driving under the influence of marijuana as dangerous or debilitating as driving drunk. Driving while stoned isn’t a good idea, it’s just like driving while sleepy or driving while on the phone; it’s dangerous and it does affect your concentration. Driving drunk, however, is just outright stupid. I have a handful of friends that have driven drunk before, and some of them have gotten into accidents because of it. However, most of my friends LIVE stoned and marijuana has never hindered their ability to get 4.0’s, maintain a job, or safely drive an automobile.

Stop comparing drugged drivers to drunk drivers!


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. Ateddibear4u on

    I don’t think that there is alot of drugged driving,but there is a hell alot more drunk driver.Stop making excuses.This is a gift from god and if he didn’t want us to have we would have never of found it.I have chronic pain and weed helps me to relax so i can get some sleep.without sleep is something i don’t get.I am so tried of hearing all the bullshit from our government when medical marijuana is legal in every other country,but here.Just don’t understand………

  2. Steven Learn on

    Makes most baked people I know drive a bit slower & are slightly more defensive!!

  3. I really don’t agree with the “drugged driving” claim at all, but I tried to take a semi-subjective view on it. But you’re completely right, people who smoke regularly are fine doing anything while they are high, I’ve never witnessed any careless actions by veteran smokers due to marijuana.

    I wish there was a study on first time drunks driving vs first time stoned driving, because I’d be willing to bet very few first toke and drive when its pretty clear many people drive the first couple times they get drunk.

  4. It sounds like you’re falling in to the expected position: hedging, putting up disclaimers, inadvertently giving more prominence & potency to the “drugged driving” argument.

    Of course drugabuse.GOV is going to say “We looked at a bunch of studies, and pot is bad.” The law says that is the DEA’s job: to say that drugs are bad and arrest people for having them. They’re going to continue saying that until the law is changed – regardless of what scientific evidence is published.

    And speaking of published scientific evidence:

    “marijuana … had no effect on accuracy on measures of cognitive flexibility, mental calculation, and reasoning.”


    “The THC-only drivers had a [accident] responsibility rate below that of drug free drivers, as was found previously”(!)

    For regular smokers, stoned driving IS safe driving. Hell, with the growing epidemic of road rage, maybe we need to encourage it! For rookies and newbies, they usually realize if and when they’re too high to drive responsibly – because it doesn’t give you that stupid Superman feeling that goes along with alcohol.

  5. Excellent research….But calling it drugged driving seems to group pot with like heroine. I wonder what else we could call it “smoked driving”?

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