Oklahoma lawmakers right to consider marijuana measure's impact – NewsOK.com

OKLAHOMANS are expected to vote on an initiative to legalize medical marijuana next year. Rep. John Paul Jordan, R-Yukon, has requested that lawmakers study the possible policy implications of that vote.

That’s a good idea, and it’s welcome news that lawmakers are thinking ahead on this issue.

In his study request, Jordan said lawmakers should review whether any “policies and procedures need to be put in place” prior to a public vote on the proposal in case of its passage. He wants lawmakers to review the practices other states have adopted, including licensing structure.

“This study is not to debate the merits of SQ 788 as that will be decided by the voters,” Jordan wrote. He said the study’s “main job is to determine what action (if any) is needed prior to the vote.”

One issue lawmakers should review is the impact of marijuana legalization on public safety, a potential challenge highlighted by a recent report from Washington state.

The AAA Foundation for Public Safety has examined the rates of cannabis use among Washington drivers suspected of driving under the influence or who were involved in collisions.

In 2012, Washington voters approved Initiative 502, legalizing recreational use of marijuana. Even before passage of that measure, drug use among drivers was a problem. But passage of the marijuana law didn’t improve things, as can be seen in the prevalence of tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive component in marijuana, detected in Washington drivers via blood tests.

“Analysis of trends over time before and after Initiative 502 took effect indicate that the proportion of drivers positive for THC was generally flat before Initiative 502, but began increasing significantly approximately 9 months after the effective date of Initiative 502,” AAA reported.

The report found that 10 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in

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