It is a fact that a lot of people consume alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day. It is also a fact that drunk driving is a problem as a result. Below are some facts that I found doing simple Google searches.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “On St Patrick’s Day alone, 32 percent of fatalities from motor vehicle crashes were connected to drunk driving.”
According to the Northern Delaware County DUI Taskforce, “On St. Patrick’s Day in 2009, 37 percent of the motor vehicle traffic fatalities involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol content of .08 grams per deciliter or above.”
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, “figures show that 13 people died in crashes on St. Patrick’s Day since 2007 and seven of those crashes involved a driver who’d been drinking.”
Drunk driving is not the only problem. Problems with domestic violence, sexual assault, and alcohol poisoning also rise on St. Patrick’s Day. Yet, alcohol consumption is not only legal on St. Patrick’s Day, it’s highly encouraged. You can go into any corner market or grocery store and you will no doubt see displays all over the alcohol section for St. Patrick’s Day. My local grocery store has even moved the decoration and green plastic cup display to the front of the store to encourage shoppers to purchase their binge drinking party gear.
I can buy as much alcohol as I want and drink it until I die and there’s nothing to stop me. Yet if I walked around town smoking a marijuana joint, causing no harm to no other person, I would likely get tackled by the army of police officers that are overseeing the St. Patrick Day parties at all the local watering holes. In my town, there are dozens of cops downtown during St. Patrick’s Day on foot, bicycles, motorcycles, and in vehicles. If everyone smoked marijuana instead of drinking alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day, there would be no need for all of those police. People would be peaceful and would likely just stay home instead of being out driving.
There’s an amazing event going on tomorrow that is going to highlight exactly what I’m talking about, and if you are in the New York area, make sure to come out and attend:
Empire State NORML (the New York State chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)) announces today the Third Annual St. Patrick’s Day Press Conference and Rally scheduled for Saturday, March 17th on the steps of City Hall at high noon to remind New Yorkers that marijuana is a safer alternative to alcohol and that marijuana prohibition must end.
“While scores of New Yorkers are out getting hammered, we want to remind the Big Apple that there is a safer, greener and cleaner choice for adults: marijuana,” said Doug Greene, Legislative Director of Empire State NORML, who organized the event for the first time in 2010.
In 2011, marijuana possession arrests in New York City hit a ten-year high. These small possession charges have big consequences: a criminal record can put jobs, housing, education and families at risk. In 2010, 16% of New Yorkers reported that they had engaged in binge drinking (5+ drinks on a single occasion) within the past 30 days.
“In an era of budget cuts and worsening public health, why is the Bloomberg administration driving New Yorkers to drink while spending at least $75 million a year arresting peaceful, healthy cannabis consumers? New York City made over 50,000 marijuana possession arrests last year, and over 400,000 since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002. We’re here to slay the dragon of racist, expensive and unscientific marijuana policies,” said Greene.
Confirmed speakers include:
City Council Member Letitia “Tish” James (District 35, Brooklyn), sponsor of Resolutions 986 (in support of S.5187/A.7620, which would amend the Penal Law in relation to criminal possession of marihuana in the fifth degree) and 1191 (calling upon the Administration for Children’s Services not to file a petition of abuse or neglect in family court, when the sole allegation against the parent is marijuana use)
Retired NYPD lieutenant Joanne Naughton of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
NORML founder and Legal Counsel R. Keith Stroup, J.D.
Medical marijuana researcher Sunil Kumar Aggarwal, MD, PhD
Dominick Chang, Vice-President, Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) at NYU
Marijuana is Safer Than Alcohol Facts Provide By S.A.F.E.R.
Alcohol use contributes to reckless behavior and serious injuries, and it is highly associated with emergency room visits, whereas marijuana use does not contribute to such behavior and injuries, and is seldomly associated with emergency room visits.