LAKEWOOD, Ohio — It does seem strange that Ohio voters are being urged to legalize pot by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. Barring some new political hurdle imposed by the anti-freedom caucus in Columbus, a constitutional amendment to that effect will appear on the November 2023 ballot.
As we know, or at least should know, alcohol-impaired driving is responsible for thousands of traffic deaths nationally each year. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that number was 11,654 in 2020, accounting for 30% of all traffic-related deaths.
There is some evidence from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs that fatal traffic accidents increased by about 4% in states where recreational marijuana has been legalized. However, across states, studies have indicated a variance between a 4% increase and a 10% decrease in fatal accidents following legalization.
Objectivity is elusive in comparing alcohol and marijuana traffic dangers.
More strikingly, though, the CDC reports approximately 140,000 deaths per year resulting from excessive alcohol use in the United States. The CDC also reports an average of six alcohol-poisoning deaths per day. The number of such deaths attributed to marijuana use is close to zero. Even the Drug Enforcement Agency acknowledges that zero deaths from marijuana overdoses have been reported.
By any reasonable viewpoint, it’s marijuana that should be legal and alcohol that should be illegal.
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