Last week Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) convened a hearing aimed at scaring people about the dangerously stoned drivers who supposedly will fill our roads and highways if marijuana is legalized. In my latest Forbes column, I explain why a calmer view emerges from the details of the hearing. Here is how the piece starts:
If marijuana is legalized, John Mica warned at a congressional hearing last week, there will be blood. "In the last dozen years," the Florida Republican said, "we've had [half] a million Americans slaughtered on the highways…and half of those fatalities are related to people who are impaired through alcohol or drugs." Legal pot will compound this "phenomenal devastation," he said, since "we are going to have a lot more people stoned on the highway."
Mica, a proud pot prohibitionist who chairs a subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, convened the hearing to raise an alarm about the deadly threat that legalization poses to anyone navigating the roads and highways. But by the end of the hearing, anyone who was paying attention recognized that his grim prophecies have little basis in fact.