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Letter: Why legalize another drug that impairs driving?

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to aedenloff@echopress.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.

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To the editor:

I'm a Clinical PharmD who worked in Rochester for 31 years. I'd like to offer my note regarding the current proposal for (marijuana) legalization.

It seems that our legislators have set aside the reason that substances are declared illegal. That is, their ability to cause harm often outweighs benefits. To quote a European physician colleague’s observation, "America does not prevent driving under the influence of alcohol well, so why legalize another drug that impairs driving?"

I offer evidence, that is current and readily available from NIH; an article by Crean RD et al, "An Evidence Based Review of Acute and Long Term Effects of Cannabis on Executive Cognitive Functions" Published J Addiction Med. This is a peer reviewed publication available at NIH library (NIHMS266295.). There are other such peer reviewed medical articles that present the conclusion that cannabis (THC) impairs executive brain function, thus driving skill and slowed reactions. Are our legislators so willing risk innocent lives and futures within the age group of those under 30 (the largest age demographic of alcohol related deaths and incidence of DUI)?

Facts: Alcohol related MVA deaths increased 8.3%, (42,338 people died in motor-vehicle crashes in 2020 compared to 39,107 in 2019). (National Safety Council statistics). Drunk driving remains the #1 cause of death on our roadways. (MADD). Next, there remains no practical method to accurately test for driving under the influence of cannabis. There is not an established “legal or safe” limit as with ethanol (<0.08%). What is law enforcement to do to enforce driving under the influence with recreational marijuana?

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Our legislators need to accept the fact that neither our driving under the influence laws nor enforcement are ready to keep our roadways sufficiently safe. Both our Minnesota law enforcement and safety councils are against legalization of recreational marijuana.

Robert Hoel, PharmD
Alexandria, Mn

What To Read Next
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to aedenloff@echopress.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to aedenloff@echopress.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to aedenloff@echopress.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to aedenloff@echopress.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.