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Harm Reduct J. 2007 Jan 31;4:4.

Roadside sobriety tests and attitudes toward a regulated cannabis market.

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  • 1University at Albany, State University of New York, 1400 Washington Ave, Department of Psychology, SS 369, Albany, New York 12222, USA.



Many argue that prohibition creates more troubles than alternative policies, but fewer than half of American voters support a taxed and regulated market for cannabis. Some oppose a regulated market because of concerns about driving after smoking cannabis. Although a roadside sobriety test for impairment exists, few voters know about it. The widespread use of a roadside sobriety test that could detect recent cannabis use might lead some voters who currently oppose a regulated market to support it. In contrast, a question that primes respondents about the potential for driving after cannabis use might lead respondents to be less likely to support a regulated market.


Phone interviews with a national sample of 1002 registered voters asked about support for a regulated cannabis market and support for such a market if a reliable roadside sobriety test were widely available.


In this sample of registered voters, 36% supported a regulated cannabis market. Exploratory chi-square tests revealed significantly higher support among men and Caucasians but no link to age or education. These demographic variables covaried significantly. Logistic regression revealed that gender, ethnicity, and political party were significant when all predictors were included. Support increased significantly with a reliable roadside sobriety test to 44%, but some respondents who had agreed to the regulated market no longer agreed when the sobriety test was mentioned. Logistic regression revealed that ethnicity and political affiliation were again significant predictors of support with a reliable sobriety test, but gender was no longer significant. None of these demographic variables could identify who would change their votes in response to the reliable roadside test.


Increased awareness and use of roadside sobriety tests that detect recent cannabis use could increase support for a regulated cannabis market. Identifying concerns of voters who are not Caucasian or Democrats could help alter cannabis policy.

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