The death of a Massachusetts’ state trooper has brought the issue of whether to vote Yay or Nay to proposed legalization of marijuana in the state to boiling point as the driver who crashed into his SUV was allegedly stoned on medical cannabis (marijuana). It has also raised the issue of whether CBD oil instead of marijuana might perhaps have prevented the tragedy.
30-year-old David Njugana, was the driver in the crash which killed state trooper Thomas L Clardy on the Massachusetts Turnpike at mid-day earlier this year. Witnesses claimed Njugana was driving erratically and eventually crossed three lanes before hitting the trooper’s SUV, where it was parked in the breakdown lane. The Boston Herald reports that a crash analysis showed Njugana was traveling at 81 mph at the time.
Half-smoked joint found in the car
A half-smoked cannabis joint was found in Njugana’s vehicle. Investigators discovered he had just bought three joints less than an hour before the crash at a medicinal marijuana dispensary. According to the prosecutor, he had “an active THC level in his blood” when he crashed into the trooper’s SUV and was operating “in an impaired state”.
According to a neighbour, Njuguna worked late hours and had complained the day before the crash on Facebook that he could not get enough sleep. His family said he had suffered concussion in the crash and could not remember anything that had happened the afternoon Trooper Clardy was killed.
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The crash has brought several issues to the fore
Massachusetts, where medical cannabis has been legal since 2013, is likely to be calling for a vote come November on fully legalizing marijuana. The fatal crash may play a role in the outcome of that vote. Massachusetts’ Governor Charlie Baker is a vocally against legalizing marijuana in his state, and the likely November vote on the issue. After the crash, he is said to have spoken out against the ‘proliferation” of pot use , while linking it to the Njuguna case.
Prescriptions and dosing
The crash also highlights a matter of great concern to the man often called the father of medical marijuana, Professor Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. Mechoulam, whose research team first identified and isolated compounds, like the high-inducing THC and the non-psychoactive CBD oil cannabinoid in cannabis decades ago, has repeatedly expressed concern about what people were getting, and how much of it when treated with medical marijuana.
He says not every disease can be treated with the same type of marijuana at the same dosage. The balance of THC and CBD vary, and in some instances, the condition would only be affected by one of the two. This made it difficult to prescribe or deliver exact amounts. However, intensive research is being done into what and how much to give in particular situations.
Would CBD oil have averted the crash tragedy?
CBD oil, comprised of non-psychoactive cannabidiols, does not produce the high associated with the THC in marijuana. In fact, CBD acts as a calmative, limiting the amount of THC present in the plant, and how much of a high it can generate. Using CBD oil would not result in impaired driving ability.