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In 2016, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and California passed legislation legalizing recreational marijuana use, joining four states that already had similar provisions.Additional states will likely follow suit; 21 other states legalized marijuana for medical use, and such laws are often a precursor to recreational legalization.
Thus, rates of drinking went down, drunk driving declined, and so did attention to the issue.(5) After the repeal of Prohibition, it took decades of DUI-related deaths before DUI laws became widely enacted, and longer before they were strictly enforced.
That change came mostly due to grassroots efforts by organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
But legislating morality has also proved difficult.
As far back as 1926, RM Maciver warned that puritanical legislation was not necessarily a proper object of political lawmaking.(1) Prohibition was repealed just seven years later.
Intoxicated individuals in the past might merely fall off a horse or get in a bar fight.
With machinery, mainly automobiles, a real danger existed that could impact innocent bystanders.The same societal forces that led to the repeal of Prohibition are currently shaping the trend toward relaxing marijuana laws.A Gallup poll in November 2017 showed support for recreational marijuana legalization at 64 percent, a record high.(2) That support is carrying over to the voting booth.This is startling, not only because of the avalanche of evidence that is at this point commonplace, but also because preventing these tragedies is as simple as raising awareness of one's alcohol intake.Perhaps no instrument does this as quickly and effectively as a BACtrack Breathalyzer.So-called moral offenses—drinking alcohol, gambling, cheating on your spouse—offend some people to the point where they feel legislation banning or restricting such activities is needed.This, of course, is how Prohibition came into effect in 1919.In the first six months of 1934, injuries and deaths due to DUI were four times higher in Chicago, and Los Angeles officials reported a vast increase in DUI.(3) We can expect the same trend with marijuana. In Washington, 19% of those arrested for intoxicated driving had THC in their system before marijuana legalization.Following legalization in 2012, the rate has increased steadily, reaching 25 percent in 2013, 28 percent in 2014, and 33 percent in 2015.(4) Correlation does not prove causation, but common sense tells us if more people are smoking pot, more drivers will be stoned.Societal Attitude Toward Stoned Driving Will Change It seems evident to us now that drinking and driving is a dangerous act. In the not-so-distant past, drinking and driving was not necessarily frowned upon; in fact, some considered it an act of free will.“Punishment” took form in civil court to compensate the injured party.