States with medical marijuana laws have lower traffic fatality rates, study reports

Fredrick Kunkle

Medical marijuana traffic fatalities
(AP Photo/Seth Perlman) (Seth Perlman)

States with medical marijuana laws have fewer traffic fatalities than those without, especially among younger drivers, a new study found.

You would think crash rates might be higher, supposing that more drivers are, too.

But, no. Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found an 11 percent reduction in traffic fatalities on average when examining places that have enacted medical marijuana laws – 23 states and the District of Columbia. The presence of medical marijuana dispensaries also correlated with fewer traffic fatalities, the study found.

Silvia Martins, a physician and associate professor who was the study’s senior officer, theorized that lower traffic fatality rates in states with marijuana laws might be related to lower levels of alcohol-impaired driving: People, especially younger people, began substituting weed for booze.

 

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