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 town’s Board of Police Commissioners, representatives of the Kansas Police Division famous that the variety of deadly vehicular collisions for the 12 months eclipsed 100 this month, a rise of 40% over final 12 months.

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 Website Reform As Attainable Trigger Of Spike

“Marijuana use does appear to be a minimum of 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 automobile 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 authorised the medicinal use of marijuana by a margin of almost two to at least one. And in July of this 12 months, the Metropolis Council of Kansas City voted to remove marijuana possession ordinances from the books, ending prosecution of the offense on the municipal degree.

“I don’t wish to be like an previous fuddy-duddy that’s simply remembering the nice previous days. That’s not my level,” Jackson stated. “My level is that, particularly this 12 months, as we glance into knowledge science analysis, marijuana use does appear to be a minimum of 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 constructive 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 drunk.

Different Components Main To Spike Additionally Cited

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

“Velocity and a focus and, consider it or not, we nonetheless have quite a lot of indications that folks don’t put on their seat belts,” Jackson stated.

Though police appeared fast to level fingers at hashish, the same spike of greater than 100 deadly vehicular collisions occurred in 2017, solely three years in the past however earlier than reform offered 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 e mail that extra knowledge is required earlier than hashish may be blamed for the spike in lethal crashes, whereas acknowledging that the prosecutor’s workplace has “been involved about ‘drugged driving’ after voters authorised 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 town’s residents.

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