Julie Schauer, the Pennsylvania multi-millionaire who threw away $1.3 million in a failed effort to defeat marijuana legalization in California, is comparing the legal pot industry to the NRA, saying its campaign contributions to politicians amount to “blood money [that] leads to traffic deaths.”
Democratic Party may soon be held by grip of pot industry which owns NJ gov, CA gov, Gavin Newsom, some senators, OR’s AG The party risks being owned by pot $$, just as NRA controls GOP. It’s blood money, leads to traffic deaths @JBPritzker @DanielBiss @KennedyforIL Shame on you!
— Julie Schauer (@InAweofArt) March 18, 2018
From her Twitter account @InAweOfArt, Schauer on Sunday afternoon called out New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Illinois gubernatorial candidates JB Pritzker, Daniel Biss, and Chris Kennedy, as well as “some senators,” as being “held in the grip of the pot industry.”
In Schauer’s view, that means a Democratic Party marching in lockstep with the wishes of the legal marijuana industry as the Republican Party hues to the National Rifle Association’s talking points.
It remains to be seen whether legal marijuana can, as a lobby, compete with the control the NRA holds over Washington. Marijuana is only legal in nine states, and even in those states, you must be 21 to purchase it. Guns are legal in all fifty states, and in most of them, you need only be 18 years of age to purchase one.
As for the “blood money [that] leads to traffic deaths,” however, Schauer is way off the mark.
Guns were responsible for 38,658 US deaths in 2016.
There were 37,461 US deaths from traffic fatalities in 2016. Even if you think marijuana causes traffic fatalities, it doesn’t cause all of them, and even that’s not as many deaths as from guns.
When Schauer and other prohibitionists claim there’s an increase in traffic deaths from marijuana legalization, they’re engaging in statistical prestidigitation I like to call The Dead Stoned Drivers Fallacy.
They’re calculating traffic fatalities in whose blood or urine THC or its metabolites are detected.
Since marijuana’s metabolites stick around in someone’s system for days or weeks, detecting them tells you nothing about impairment.
We’re not even just talking about people who were driving, but all traffic fatalities. You could be a passenger in a car who smoked a joint last week, and if we test your blood after you’re killed in a crash, you’re a “dead stoned driver.”
Even marijuana’s active THC in the blood isn’t indicative of impairment, as noted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
They have even corroborated this fact. When you control for age and gender (since young men are disproportionately pot smokers and naturally bad drivers), there is no statistical difference between a sober driver and a driver in whose bodily fluids one detects THC or its metabolite.
Facts be damned, though, because this isn’t the first time an anti-marijuana crusader has compared marijuana legalization to gun violence.
In the wake of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Randy Philbrick, then head of the Oregon chapter of the national anti-legalization organization, Project SAMUEL*, responded to a tweet by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who expressed his sorrow over the shooting and called out the cowardice of elected officials who would not pass sensible gun legislation.
After Philbrick compared mass shootings and marijuana legalizations as threats to public safety and condemned politicians who won’t stand up to the marijuana industry, the outcry that followed from the Congressman and the media led Philbrick to tender his resignation.
Discussing the effect of marijuana legalization on the public safety isn’t an invalid exercise. However, if you’re coming to the table with comparisons of marijuana to guns, you’ve already lost the debate.
*Smart Approaches to Marijuana Use… Except Legalization!