PLEDGE TO NOT DRIVE WHILE HIGH UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA
While the legal and scientific landscape surrounding marijuana is evolving faster than ever, there are facts we know for certain: driving under the influence of weed increases the risk of harm to yourself and others. Scientific data shows that the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle accident increases approximately tw0-fold after cannabis smoking. Taking a puff before you get behind the wheel could be the difference between life and death.
If you care about your friends, your family, and yourself, we invite you to join the movement and take the pledge:
I will not drive under the influence of marijuana.
THE CHANGING LEGAL LANDSCAPE
Marijuana is everywhere in 2019. Ten states (and the District of Columbia) have legalized the substance for recreational use. Dozens more have legalized its use medicinally, to varying degrees. Several states have decriminalized weed at the state level. You can find marijuana in its traditional leaf form, or in edible forms, gums, patches, vape pens, and others. Rates of marijuana experimentation and usage are increasing fast.
While marijuana remains illegal to use or possess for any purpose under federal law, the federal government has largely halted enforcement efforts against individual users and the legitimate marijuana industry. If you live in a state with legal marijuana, and abide by that state’s laws, chances are you can indulge without running into legal issues. But knowing what those laws are can be tricky, and what’s legal in one state may not be legal in the next.
But no matter where you live, you can always count on one thing: Driving impaired under the influence of marijuana is illegal. The specifics vary state by state, but no matter where you go, if you drive while impaired by a substance (legal or not), you’re breaking the law.
THE SCIENCE OF POT
There’s a good reason why driving high will get you jail time. Scientists have been studying the impact of marijuana on brain function for years, since long before the first recreational marijuana laws came into effect. We know more today about marijuana’s impact on our minds and motor functions than we have at any previous point in history. Much of the paranoia and fear around marijuana use is being replaced by rational insight and knowledge. The days of “Reefer Madness” hysteria are long behind us.
As with most areas of science, though, we’re continuing to learn, experiment, and refine our understanding. There are things we understand well, and things we’re less certain of and trying to understand better.
One thing we’re absolutely certain of is that marijuana use impairs mental cognition, which means it impairs your ability to drive. To quote one scientific review of the available research: “60 studies concluded that marijuana causes impairment in every performance area that can reasonably be connected with safe driving of a vehicle, such as tracking, motor coordination, visual functions, and particularly complex tasks that require divided attention[.]” In addition, nearly two thirds of U.S. trauma center admissions are due to motor vehicle accidents, with almost 60% of such patients testing positive for drugs or alcohol.
It doesn’t matter whether you smoke, vape, or eat a THC-laced edible; if you’re high from marijuana, you’re increasing the risk to yourself and others if you get behind the wheel.
If you get pulled over, the cops aren’t going to accept “it was just a THC brownie” or I have a medical condition as an excuse; you’re getting a well-deserved ticket, and possibly jail time. And if you cause a crash, the legal consequences of being under the influence of marijuana are always more severe than if you had been sober.
Driving on weed is dangerous. It’s also completely unnecessary. We all carry smartphones that are capable of calling an Uber, Lyft, taxi, friend, parent, great-uncle who lives nearby, etc. There’s no excuse for putting the lives of yourself and others in danger by getting behind the wheel stoned.
TAKE THE PLEDGE
We want to help put an end to marijuana-impaired driving. Here’s how you can help.
For Teens and adults – Join the movement and take the pledge: I promise NOT to get behind the wheel when under the influence of marijuana. I’ll call a friend, a rideshare, a taxi, or a relative. No matter what happens, I won’t put myself or others in danger.
For Parents – Talk to your kids about the dangerous impacts of marijuana on driving. Let them know that if they get into trouble, they can call you to come and get them. Let them know you love them no matter what, and it’s better to come clean to you then to risk jail time or a life-threatening car crash.