Mother Shares How “Medical” Marijuana Caused The Death Of Her Daughter

Posted by David E. Smith

Late last month, state lawmakers in North Carolina held a hearing to discuss a proposal to legalize so-called “medical” marijuana. SB 3—NC Compassionate Care Act. During the hearing, Corinne LaMarca testified against the bill, sharing the story of her daughter, Jennifer. She shared that Jennifer was an excellent student and a talented athlete. She studied Intelligence and Analysis Research in college and wanted to use this degree to fight illicit drugs. She had an amazing future ahead of her.

One night, Jennifer was called into work early. While driving there, she was hit by an oncoming car so hard that her car was thrown across the road and into the front of a nearby building. The damage to the building was so extensive that the wall collapsed on top of her car, killing Jennifer instantly.

The other driver, though, had no idea what he had just done. This man was uninjured and able to remove himself from his car. He and his car reeked of marijuana, which he had obtained for “medical” purposes. He even admitted to smoking it right before the accident.

Driving While High

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), marijuana affects areas of the brain that control the body’s movements, balance, coordination, memory, and judgment. This causes a slowed reaction time and ability to make decisions, impaired coordination, and distorted perception.

Driving under the influence includes driving under the influence of marijuana. The difference between marijuana and alcohol is that while blood alcohol content can be measured with a breathalyzer, the equivalent for marijuana is still in development. Dr. Tara Lovegood, one of the researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology working on developing a breathalyzer for marijuana, said in an interview,

“The cannabis breathalyzer is in its infancy . . . we will be working on the science of cannabis breathalyzer measurements for many years.”

Amongst many other health risks, marijuana significantly impairs driving like alcohol, and yet we currently have no way to measure when someone’s levels are too high to drive safely. When you can’t measure something consistently, it becomes next to impossible to minimize the risks involved. This is possibly one of the reasons why a study done in Canada found that there was a significant increase in motor vehicle crash-related healthcare visits once marijuana was legalized for “medical” uses.

According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2021, 13.5 million people aged 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol in the past year and 11.7 million drove under the influence of selected illicit drugs, including marijuana (2021 DT 8.33A).

Drugged Driving?

After alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often found in the blood of drivers involved in crashes. The blood test for detecting marijuana in drivers measure the level of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s mind-altering ingredient. THC can be detected in body fluids for days or even weeks after use, and it is often combined with alcohol. The vehicle crash risk associated with marijuana in combination with alcohol, cocaine, or benzodiazepines appears to be greater than that for each drug by itself.

Several studies have shown that drivers with THC in their blood were roughly twice as likely to be responsible for a deadly crash or be killed than drivers who hadn’t used drugs or alcohol.