Liberalizing Marijuana Use and Improving Driving Safety: Two Contemporary Public Policies on a Collision Course

Historically, America’s marijuana and alcohol policies developed independently, but each one buttressed the other’s salutary effects. Today, an increase in the number of marijuana users is likely to lead to an increase in the number of marijuana-impaired or marijuana-and-alcohol-impaired drivers. Society needs to be able to takes steps to prevent medical and recreational marijuana initiatives from increasing the mortality and morbidity that alcohol-impaired driving already imposes. One way to achieve that goal would be to lower the blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) cap of 0.08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) from 0.08 g/dL to 0.05 g/dL or lower for everyone who is a registered medical marijuana patient, or even across the board. That response might be only a small step toward improving highway safety, but it certainly would be a useful one.

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