Reader: Legal Marijuana Is Not the Reason for an Uptick in Traffic Accidents
Jacqueline Collins

Reader: Legal Marijuana Is Not the Reason for an Uptick in Traffic Accidents

Last Sunday, people were surprised to wake up to an op ed by Robert Troyer, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, titled "It’s high time we took a breath from marijuana commercialization." In it, he cited alarming data from the infamous Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Traffic Area report — a report routinely criticized by state officials and members of the cannabis industry for lacking context — as evidence of why Colorado needs to rethink its decision to legalize the plant.

When Thomas Mitchell sat down with Troyer to ask about what seems to be his tougher attitude regarding Colorado's legal pot market, as well as the contested traffic stats, he responded that it's "a good time to talk about this stuff."

Readers are more than eager to talk about Troyer's interview.

Says Brendon: 

This idiot obviously doesn't know that the increase in population is also a HUGE factor, especially when you get people who don't know how to drive here. I've seen hundreds of idiots on the road, and I'm pretty sure not all of them are high. What are you going to do about alcohol?  Sorry, man, but focusing on cannabis solely isn't going to fix the issue.

Responds Eric:

 Pot ruined our city! 80,000 people moved here and destroyed everything. The cost of living is insane.

Says Dave:

I would like to see the population increase graph along the accidents, Colorado has had other population spurts pre-legalization.I would bet $20 more people = more vehicular fatalities with or without cannabis.

Adds Mark: 

People have gotten 151% stupider. That’s all.

Observes Bret:  

I love all the comments that go to the extreme on both sides of the scale.

Is legal marijuana the sole reason for the uptick? No but you would have to be completely oblivious, ignorant, or unwilling to accept reality to think it wasn’t a contributing factor.

Now the same can be said for people who are hell bent on laying it all on legalization because the massive population spike and the fact people are completely obsessed with their phones and can’t seem to put them down.

Should you be driving after consuming several drinks? NO. But if you think it’s okay to get behind the wheel after smoking a bowl you are equally oblivious.

Says Max:

 All the government wants to do with marijuana is make as much money as they can anyway they can.. the only reason it’s “legal” is because it makes money.

And here's Bill's take on Troyer's comments: 

"I'm a dinosaur that didn't get the email on that asteroid and want to turn back the clock to where the nanny state tells you what you can do and what you can't."

Keep reading for more on the federal position on Colorado's legal marijuana market.

Reader: Legal Marijuana Is Not the Reason for an Uptick in Traffic Accidents
U.S. Department of Justice

"U.S. District Attorney Bob Troyer Explains Attack on Legal Marijuana in Colorado"

Reader: Legal Marijuana Is Not the Reason for an Uptick in Traffic Accidents
Thinkstock

"Pot Turning Colorado to Sh*t, Says Law Group's Latest Anti-Weed Screed"

Reader: Legal Marijuana Is Not the Reason for an Uptick in Traffic Accidents
U.S. Senate

"Colorado Politicians Continue to Defend Pot Against Jeff Sessions"

Here's what Troyer had to say about the controversial traffic stats:

"If you noticed, in the op-ed I didn't mention the RMHIDTA's remarks on crime increases since the passage of Amendment 64. I get that there are a lot of flaws in concluding a causation relationship when you don't account for population growth or other factors that may or may not have increased crime. But some of these numbers should just give us pause to do further study and analysis on the health and safety side.

"So instead of law enforcement just throwing out a study that the industry says exaggerates traffic fatalities while poking holes in it, like 'it measures only the metabolites, it's not the active THC, it doesn't account for user tolerance,' let's work together with law enforcement to find the answer. It's the dynamic that delayed the research and public awareness of how tobacco causes cancer. You had this relationship where scientists in the 1930s said there might be a link, and the industry was always undercutting the science that was being developed instead of working with science to get to an accurate picture and agree upon reasonable regulations...

"But about studying safety effects: I get it. I get that the 151 percent increase in traffic fatalities is not perfect proof that retail marijuana legalization caused each one of those accidents. But it's a trend that didn't exist before. It's a trend we should look at and try to get better at determining what the impairment of marijuana is. How much is it? Five nanograms [the state's driving limit for the amount of THC allowed in one's blood] is just a random number. Instead of just sitting here and screaming these numbers are accurate and arguing who's right and wrong, the need is for us to get good data. We've got to get better at pinning down causation with these things and not just going with correlation."

What do you think of Troyer's position? Post a comment or email marijuana@westword.com.

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