This letter originally appeared on Courant.com.
At first glance, the data described in "AAA: Study Shows CT May Have More Drugged Drivers Than Other States" [courant.com, May 3] was shocking. Even though I strongly support regulating marijuana like alcohol, it is clear that people should not be driving under the influence of any drugs that make them a danger to themselves and the countless people they share the road with.
Fortunately, things are not as bad as the headline suggests. AAA itself is quick to point out that someone having marijuana in their system does not mean they are impaired, as its metabolites can be detected for up to a month after the drug is actually consumed. Therefore, this data inevitably includes many people who were not impaired at the time, and does not distinguish whether the person with marijuana in his system was the one at fault for the crash.
Since 1980, the number of drunken driving fatalities has been cut in half. We did this not by banning alcohol for everyone, but through public education campaigns like encouraging "designated drivers" and stepped-up enforcement by police. If we regulate marijuana like alcohol, we could focus our tax dollars on fighting DUI and have similar results.
Sam Tracy, South Windsor
The writer is director of the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana.