Pubdate: Fri, 27 Dec 2002
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002, Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Chuck Beyer
Note: Parenthetical remark by the Sun editor, headline by newshawk


Letter Of The Day

RE "LETTER of the Day," by Jean-Pierre Allard (Dec. 22): Allard was 
concerned about the effect of marijuana on driving. In the most 
comprehensive study ever done, involving 2,500 drivers, the University of 
Adelaide's (Australia) pharmacology department and Transport SA, found that 
cannabis was the only drug tested that decreased the relative risk of 
having an accident.

If that that is not enough, Allard should look to the recent studies which 
have embarrassed the British government. The British Transport Research 
Laboratory in recent tests began with preconceptions built primarily around 
the legal status of this plant, reasoning that if it is illegal it must be 
as intoxicating as alcohol.

What they found instead was that amongst regular smokers the mellowing 
effects of cannabis made drivers more cautious and so less likely to drive 
dangerously, and that they are less likely to cause road accidents than 
drunk drivers or even drug-free drivers

The fact is that, notwithstanding marijuana's legal status, these studies 
have found that being under the influence of marijuana while driving is 
less dangerous than driving while fatigued. Jean-Pierre Allard should rest 
assured that studies have already been done in this regard, and it is not a 
big issue as marijuana is not a central nervous system depressant like alcohol.

Chuck Beyer

(We'd still prefer it if people didn't get behind the wheel after inhaling)
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