STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Alcohol Companies Calling for Draconian Police State Measures to Driving on Weed
By Jack Burns - June 05, 2018

The Governors Highway Safety Association calls itself “The State’s Voice on Highway Safety” and holds annual training meetings to indoctrinate law enforcement agencies all across the country. However, the GHSA should genuinely call itself “The Alcohol Industry’s Voice,” as its latest report is entirely funded by the alcohol industry in a blatant attempt to paint cannabis users as the real highway villains.

GHSA’s report was funded completely by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (www.responsibility.org) and is titled “Drug-Impaired Driving: Marijuana and Opioids Raise Critical Issues for States.” The report was quickly broadcast across mainstream media outlets who are also largely funded by the alcohol industry’s advertisements. Curiously absent from the media coverage though was the fact the report was entirely paid for by Responsibility.org.

GHSA’s report pins the blame for impaired driving deaths on cannabis and opioids. Listed in the report are a number of disturbing encouragements to law enforcement agencies:

1. Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) for a “majority” of police officers

2. Implementation of “oral fluid devices” to test for drugs

3. Increasing the number of Drug Recognition Experts (DRE’s)

4. Training of judges and prosecutors to enforce Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) laws

5. Train officers to investigate drug impairment even when alcohol is suspected in DUI cases

6. Authorize electronic search warrants for drug tests

7. Penalize people when they refuse drug tests

8. Require blood testing for drugs

9. Establishment of DUID laws equivalent to DUI laws

10. Drug-testing fatally injured drivers as well as any and all surviving drivers where a fatality has occurred

Nearly all of the “recommendations,” if implemented, will lead to increased mass incarceration of the U.S. populace, which already has the largest prison population in the world. The recommendations could lead to more completely innocent and unimpaired drivers being jailed by, as The Free Thought Project has reported on numerous occasions, so-called Drug Recognition Experts.

The costs of more DUIs will only enrich lawyers, drug-testing programs, probation companies, and vehicle-installed DUI device corporations. Additionally, research indicates that THC tests of saliva and THC-blood levels are no indication of impairment and can remain in a person’s system for up to 30 days following consumption.

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While the GHSA’s report appears to be concerned with “highway safety,” it relies on highly subjective and unreliable data to arrive at its conclusions and subsequent recommendations.

Many Emergency Room doctors or nurses can testify that it is often the drunk driver who survives an accident whereby other drivers are killed. However, such qualitative data is absent from GHSA’s data analysis, which used the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) stats from 2006, 2015, and 2016 to arrive at its conclusion that more drivers who die in accidents were on drugs than alcohol. GHSA reported:

In 2016, 43.6% of the drivers with known drug test results were drug-positive. In 2015, of the drivers with known test results, 43.0% in the annual report le and 43.4% in the nal le were drug-positive.

Of the drivers with known alcohol test results, 37.9% were alcohol-positive (any alcohol at all) in 2016 compared to 38.0% in the 2015 annual report le and 38.1% in the nal le.

Wow! Isn’t that a convenient statistic? The alcohol industry paid for a report that appears to show drugged drivers were more likely to die in accidents than alcohol-impaired drivers. All of which should come as no surprise to those who funded the report. Fortunately, as TFTP has reported, these myths have already been debunked by researchers who are not being paid by Big Alcohol:

Citing the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, Forbes reported that not only is marijuana use safer than alcohol use when it comes to driving, but far fewer fatalities are recorded when marijuana is present than when alcohol is present in traffic fatality instances. “It looks like marijuana’s impact on traffic safety has been greatly exaggerated,” writes Forbes.

Research from the American Automobile Association (AAA) has also shown that no scientific basis exists to legitimize current THC testing because a blood test threshold for THC—the chemical component of cannabis that makes people ‘high’—is not scientifically possible:

Those tests employ a blood level-based judgment similar to that used for determining alcohol impairment. But AAA found such tests for THC are wholly unreliable—sending potentially unimpaired drivers to jail and putting impaired drivers back behind the wheel.

There is understandably a strong desire by both lawmakers and the public to create legal limits for marijuana impairment in the same manner we do alcohol,” said AAA president and CEO, Marshall Doney, as reported by the Associated Press. “In the case of marijuana this approach is flawed and not supported by scientific research.”

Not only does it appear that the GHSA’s statistics are flawed, but it is also clear that they do not align with other non-biased organizations’ conclusions. However, one of the most disturbing issues that have been revealed by this report is the fact that the alcohol industry is training law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and lawyers on how to detect, charge, litigate, and prosecute cannabis users in the judicial system.

***
Contributed by Jack Burns of thefreethoughtproject.com. Jack Burns is an educator, journalist, investigative reporter, and advocate of natural medicine.

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