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Spike In Deadly Automobile Crashes in Kansas Metropolis, MO Leads Police To Level The Finger At Pot | Excessive Instances

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A spike in deadly automobile crashes in Kansas Metropolis has led police officers to level the finger at a handy scapegoat: cannabis. At a current presentation to the town’s Board of Police Commissioners, representatives of the Kansas Police Division famous that the variety of deadly vehicular collisions for the yr eclipsed 100 this month, a rise of 40% over final yr.

Police officers added that 53% of deadly crashes “concerned marijuana impairment or mixture” with one other intoxicant. In 2018, the determine was 25%. Officers additionally voiced concern over the launch of Missouri’s medical marijuana program as dispensaries start to open within the state.

Cops Web site Reform As Attainable Trigger Of Spike

“Marijuana use does appear to be at the least associated partly to deadly automobile crashes,” KCPD spokesman Capt. David Jackson told local media.

Whereas the police division stopped wanting definitively blaming marijuana for the rise in deadly car collisions, the spike comes following vital reforms in hashish coverage within the space. In 2018, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker introduced an finish to prosecutions for some hashish possession offenses after Missouri voters accredited the medicinal use of marijuana by a margin of practically two to at least one. And in July of this yr, the Metropolis Council of Kansas City voted to remove marijuana possession ordinances from the books, ending prosecution of the offense on the municipal stage.

“I don’t wish to be like an outdated fuddy-duddy that’s simply remembering the nice outdated days. That’s not my level,” Jackson stated. “My level is that, particularly this yr, as we glance into knowledge science analysis, marijuana use does appear to be at the least associated partly to deadly automobile crashes.”

The police division cited knowledge from a January 2020 study from the American Vehicle Affiliation that estimated that 21% of drivers concerned in deadly automobile crashes in 2017 had examined optimistic for THC. Police officers additionally famous a Moms In opposition to Drunk Driving survey launched in September that discovered that 41% of respondents believed driving whereas excessive is safer than driving whereas inebriated.

Different Components Main To Spike Additionally Cited

Nonetheless, police officers acknowledged that elements apart from marijuana are additionally behind the rise in deadly crashes.

“Velocity and a spotlight and, imagine it or not, we nonetheless have loads of indications that individuals don’t put on their seat belts,” Jackson stated.

Though police appeared fast to level fingers at hashish, an identical spike of greater than 100 deadly vehicular collisions occurred in 2017, solely three years in the past however earlier than reform introduced a handy scapegoat for regulation enforcement. Native media reported at the moment that police have been “baffled” by the rise.

Mike Mansur, a spokesman for Baker, wrote in an electronic mail that extra knowledge is required earlier than hashish will be blamed for the spike in lethal crashes, whereas acknowledging that the prosecutor’s workplace has “been involved about ‘drugged driving’ after voters accredited medical marijuana in Missouri.”

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, who backs deemphasizing enforcement of marijuana legal guidelines, stated that the police don’t share his stance, a place he says just isn’t supported by nearly all of the town’s residents.

“I feel it’s grossly out of contact with what most individuals in Kansas Metropolis take into consideration possession of small quantities of marijuana,” stated Lucas.