Californians to vote on marijuana legalization measure next month

Californians to vote on marijuana legalization measure next month

California voters will get a chance to legalize recreational marijuana in November, when the state will ask for their opinion via the controversial ballot measure Prop 64.

While recent polls indicated that Prop 64 has the support of nearly 60 per cent of voters in the state; a number of groups, including the Automobile Club of Southern California, have raised concerns about the potential adverse impacts of marijuana legalization.

AAA Director of Traffic Safety Jake Nelson recently cited a study that revealed that the proportion of fatal accidents involving drivers who had recently consumed marijuana doubled in Washington after the state legalized the drug in 2012.

Kevin Sabet, a former senior advisor to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said, "Marijuana affects reflexes and reaction times and the ability to judge distance . A lot of times people don't think marijuana affects driving."

The Golden State has also seen a notable increase in drugged driving over the past few years. The 2012 California Roadside Survey of Alcohol & Drug Use by Drivers found that one in every five fatal crashes in the state involve at least one drugged driver, an upward trend mirrored at the national level.

Experts suggest that should Prop 64 is approved in California, state traffic safety agencies would have to train law enforcement officers that it is not about a nanogram level or a device; rather it about articulating and detecting impairment.