The danger of pot-impaired drivers [Letter]

While Dan Rodricks' column was unfairly derisive in its characterization of Maryland's police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors who oppose the legalization of marijuana, he did state one undeniable truth: The legalization of marijuana will mean that more people will smoke pot ("Pot fears expose fears about societal health," Feb. 27).

They will smoke marijuana in order to get high and then get into cars and trucks and drive on our highways.

Marijuana is a potent drug with a proven connection to aggressive behavior. It impairs perception, memory and judgment and diminishes motor skills. The increased use that Mr. Rodricks acknowledges legalization will cause also will bring with it increased motor vehicle accidents caused by drivers who are under the influence.

Yet no one in the General Assembly is proposing to provide law enforcement with the resources it will need to arrest and prosecute these impaired drivers. In fact, just the opposite is true.

The very real danger posed by impaired drivers is just one of many reasons why law enforcement officers oppose the legalization of marijuana. Far from wanting to "continue to devote their resources to … arrest[ing] people for weed," Maryland's chiefs of police and sheriffs want to keep Marylanders safe.

Mr. Rodricks diminishes the important public safety work that law enforcement officers do every day to protect the public. He seems to forget that the "war on drugs" also includes keeping heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine off our streets. Or maybe he thinks those drugs should be legalized too?

Karen J. Kruger, Baltimore

The writer is executive director and general counsel of the Maryland Sheriffs' Association.

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