Lying to Congress

This week the Cannabis Industry Association (CIA) presented its report to Congress extolling marijuana’s tax and employment benefits, its use to combat the opioid crisis, the industry need for access to banking services,  and putting its own spin on some of the problems caused by marijuana: crime, use by minors, and highway safety.  One page was devoted to marijuana-impaired driving.  We leave it to others to critique the bulk of the report. We will summarize below only our our criticism of CIA’s coverage of marijuana-impaired driving, covered  in greater detail in CIA critique May 25 2018.

After saying people should not drive impaired, CAI quoted or misrepresented 5 reports suggesting marijuana-impaired driving wasn’t a problem:

  1. A Cato 2016 report based upon a simplistic analysis of total traffic fatalities, known to be an insensitive measure of the effect of drugged driving,
  2. The discredited Aydelotte report,
  3. The discredited Virginia Beach study,
  4. Sewell’s 2009 report noting that marijuana-impaired drivers compensate for their self-recognized impairment by driving more slowly, ignoring Sewell’s observation that compensation is ineffective in dealing with unexpected events, and
  5. Rogeberg’s 2016 statement that marijuana was less impairing than alcohol.  Rogeberg’s statement was crafted in such a way as to imply that marijuana wasn’t impairing at all, which is not what either he or the data said.

CIA then correctly extracted comments from two reports saying that there is no blood level of THC above which everyone is impaired, and below which, no one is impaired.

CIA’s cavalier treatment of the stoned driving facts isn’t surprising.  It’s merely frustrating to realize that its slick presentation to Congress is likely to have more impact that the truth. 


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