Before signing a petition to legalize marijuana in BC, (Nelson Star, September 11, 2013), people should consider the cost of keeping marijuana illegal as compared to the cost likely to be incurred in the future should it be legalized. We can learn from the impact on society of legalizing alcohol, a drug.
MADD Canada estimates there are approximately 1,500 alcohol impairment-related crash fatalities in Canada each year (four deaths per day). A total of 175 individuals are injured every day and 578 vehicles (not involved in death or injury) are damaged every day due to alcohol impairment. Every year, MADD provide services to 20,000 victims of impaired driving. The federal Ministry of Transportation has estimated that the cost of impaired driving in Canada in one year is $21 billion.
Using a 2009 Vancouver gang war article, one can estimate 240 deaths, and 640 injuries from marijuana gang crime in a year in Canada. On average, there are one or two innocent bystander deaths each year. National Anti-Drug Strategy figures indicate an annual budget of $88 million to enforce criminalization of marijuana.
Let’s compare deaths: legalized drug use (alcohol), 1,500 deaths, is six times deadlier than illegal drug use (marijuana), at 240 deaths.
Let’s compare costs: legalized drug use (alcohol), $21 billion, is 239 times more costly than illegal drug use (marijuana) at $88 million.
The study, “Acute Cannabis Consumption and Motor Vehicle Collision Risk: Systematic Review of Observational Studies and Meta-analysis” (British Medical Journal, 2012), indicated that driving under the influence of cannabis was associated with a 92 per cent increased risk of vehicular crashes. Important is the fact that such driving was associated with a 110 per cent increase in fatal crashes.
Do the comparisons and recognize that the cost of marijuana legalization is too high.
When I see these figures, I am MADD dammit!
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. Don’t Allow Marijuana Motoring Idiots Too!