New studies have found that states in the U.S. with legal cannabis saw a rise in car crashes.
We at CannabizDaily want to put cannabis in the best possible light. However, when things like this make headlines, we just can’t ignore it just because it makes the drug look bad.
Sure, it gives marijuana opponents something to gloat about and all the more reason to object to legalization. But we feel the need to bring issues like this forward in order to promote awareness and to call for a change in attitude.
Traffic accidents rise
According to two studies, traffic accidents were up 6 percent in American states where recreational cannabis has been legalized.
One research was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Loss Data Institute. It said that the frequency of collision claims that have been filed with insurers was higher in four states where cannabis is legal for recreational use. These states are Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada.
The Highway Loss Data Institute research focused on collision claims filed between 2012 and October 2017. These claims were compared against four where cannabis remains illegal. These control states are Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.
Meanwhile, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a separate study that focused on police-reported vehicle crashes before and after retail cannabis was allowed in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study found that these three states saw a 5.2 percent higher rate of accidents per million vehicle registrations when compared with neighboring states.
States should consider the effects of cannabis on road safety
In a statement, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute president David Harkey said that states exploring cannabis legalization should consider the drug’s effect on highway safety.
The institute acknowledges that determining whether a driver is impaired by cannabis use in the case of a vehicular accident is difficult. Moreover, the institute said the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in one’s system does not really mean that they were impaired while driving.
THC is the key psychoactive component in weed.
Also, more drivers have been tested for alcohol after the accidents.
Isolating the specific effects of cannabis impairment on crash risk is difficult, but there is growing evidence that legalizing the use of the drug increases crashes, Harkey added.
What do these results imply?
The road to legalization is never easy. And when things like this show up in studies, the more it gives legalization a bad name.
As a result, states that have already taken steps forward could retreat or take a few steps back. Legislators who have embraced the benefits of legalizing cannabis might just decide to withdraw their support. And lawmakers who are still on the fence regarding the issue might altogether reject any proposal.
People’s confidence in cannabis could turn into fear and hesitation.
Responsible driving, please
This is why cannabis users should be more responsible. Not only when it comes to driving, but when it comes to everything else they do.
While you are enjoying your high, make sure to stay away from the wheel.
We should all remember that it would only take so little to undo many years’ worth of fighting for cannabis reform and of promoting a change in attitude.