Many news stories and opinion pieces have been circulating the newspapers and Internet, discussing driving while under the influence of medical marijuana in Colorado. The sheer number of articles available on this topic would make you think that medical marijuana is causing an alarming number of accidents on our roadways.
You might be surprised to find out that the opposite might possibly be true. Recently, two Montana State University professors conducted a study comparing the number of vehicle accidents in states that have legalized medical marijuana and states that have not passed legislation permitting medical marijuana. They compared state-level data from reputable sources, including the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The results from their research was surprising, even to the researchers. States that have legalized medical marijuana, such as Colorado, saw a sizable decrease in traffic accidents. The average decrease was over nine percent.
When asked to explain why these statistics might be as they are, the researchers speculated that young people in these areas were likely less likely to drink and drive when they had access to marijuana. They also cited the possibility that those that use marijuana may be less impaired behind the wheel, and therefore less likely to be involved in accidents.
According to Daniel Rees, one of the two professors involved in the research. “The result that comes through again and again and again is that young adults drink less when marijuana is legalized and traffic fatalities go down.”
Many critics disagree with their findings, but it is interesting food for thought. What do you think?