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Study Shows Correlation between Medical Marijuana Laws and Lower Traffic Deaths
According to a study released late in 2011, laws for medical-marijuana reduce traffic deaths. The study is titled ‘Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption.” It was written by D. Mark Anderson and Daniel I. Rees from the Institute for the Study of Labor. One reason for this might be the fact that those living in states where there are medical marijuana laws in place might substitute marijuana for alcohol, which has a deadlier effect when it is combined with driving. Since 1996, the District of Columbia and 15 other states have passed medical marijuana laws. Researchers working on the new study paged through data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration prior to and after these laws were passed by the government. Those working on the study found close to a 9 percent decrease in overall traffic deaths. The researchers also took into account the trends in nearby states. The decline in the amount of traffic deaths could be contributed to a drop in traffic deaths related to alcohol use.
The researchers also found that in the states that have legalized medical marijuana, people over the age of 18 have increased their consumption outside of prescription uses. The researchers also looked at data from the Centers of Disease Control and from the individual states. That data showed the researchers that the states have also seen a minor decrease in the consumption of alcohol. The researchers claim that when taken together, the data shows that marijuana is now being used to partially replace drinking, not as a supplement to it.
Researchers said that those who are high are more likely to be aware of their inebriation, making them less likely to be aggressive and reckless, unlike being drunk. Researchers also suggest that another reason for the drop in traffic deaths could be that people who use marijuana tend to do so in private instead of at a bar or a sporting event like those who consume alcohol.