A survey from Virginia shows that residents don’t think marijuana is as risky as other drugs when it comes to driving.
The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) said that the results were “troubling” and that they’d be working towards addressing these issues at the start of the new year.
The survey was conducted by consulting firm Stratacomm, which collected over 700 responses from various residents of Virginia over the age of 16.
Approximately 14% of Virginians said they’d driven high a few times over the past year. It also said that only 26% of drivers believed driving high is an “extremely dangerous” activity. The data shows that texting (60%) and drinking (49%) are considered riskier when taking up the wheel.
More data shows 47% of drivers don’t “always have a plan for a sober ride” and that 24% of them have been passengers in cars operated by a high driver. A third of respondents claim high drivers are slower and more cautious drivers, which means they’re usually safe.
“As a public safety and public health agency, the CCA currently has no greater priority than creating a well-funded, aggressive, and sustained campaign aimed at reducing the incidence of marijuana-impaired driving,” said Jeremy Preiss, head of the CCA.
Marijuana possession and home growth were legalized in the state in 2021 and there’s still no efficient way of keeping track of drivers who are high and behind the wheel. Still, despite the fact that Virginians are misinformed, authorities believe these results shouldn’t be used against legalization.
“These recent findings should not be a deterrent to lawmakers moving forward with implementing retail access,” said Virginia NORML Executive Director JM Pedini. “Adult use marijuana laws have generally been associated with few changes in traffic safety and it is important that we finish the job that we started in Virginia.”