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Cannabis driving claims don't stand up to evidence

Cannabis driving claims don't stand up to evidence – ALCP


MEDIA RELEASE 21/8/13


New adverts warning against driving on Cannabis are misleading and should be pulled from TV, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party says.

The NZTA ads claim that Cannabis users are more dangerous on the roads by portraying negative stereotypes, but the evidence from overseas research shows a different reality.

New Zealand Drug Foundation director Ross Bell made the condescending remark on One News "they think they are driving slower".

"Why would a Cannabis user think they are going slower than they really are when they have a speedometer in front of them?" ALCP spokesman Steven Wilkinson said.

Mr Bell also claimed "their reaction time is slowed", despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

However, Professor Jack Maclean, director of the road accident research unit at the Adelaide University concluded that "It has been impossible to prove marijuana affects driving adversely."

"There are some quite distinguished researchers who are going through incredible contortions to try and prove that marijuana has to be a problem...but it may be it affects [performance] in a favourable way," Prof Maclean said.

Research by the Australian Drugs Foundation found that cannabis was the "only drug tested that decreased the relative risk of having an accident".

While a Scottish study found "80 per cent of those who had smoked cannabis demonstrated superior reaction times to those who had not".

Mr Wilkinson said THC could be detected in the body up to a month after using Cannabis so it is misleading to link these result to causing crashes. Many drivers who crashed with Cannabis in their system were also taking Alcohol and Pharmaceuticals at the same time.

"The NZ Drug Foundation should have its government funding reassessed if it continues to manipulate statistics to attack Cannabis users," he said.


ENDS

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