Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Pot Versus Booze

pot v boozeThis was taken from an article in the NY Times November 3, 2013.  It was written by the Editorial Board.
Americans are growing more comfortable with marijuana, with 58 percent favoring legalization.  Researchers believe they have identified a side benefit to increasing availability of marijuana: It could lead to decreased use of alcohol among young people.

Two researchers - D. Mark Anderson of Montana State University and Daniel Rees of the University of Colorado at Denver - report that legalization of marijuana for medical purposes has been associated with reductions in heavy drinking, especially among 18- to 29- year-olds, and with an almost 5 percent decrease in beer sales.  In addition, the increase in the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 seems to encourage greater marijuana use among people under 21, usage that drops sharply when they reach the legal drinking age.  So I guess young people would still rather get drunk than get high.  For young drivers, alcohol is far more hazardous.

For the most part, marijuana-intoxicated drivers show only modest impairments on road tests.  (If anything, they drive too slowly!)  After using marijuana, drivers overestimate their impairment, so the slow down and increase their following distance.  The opposite is true of drivers under the influence of alcohol.
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