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Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Associated With Fewer Traffic Fatalities

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Medical Marijuana Laws Associated With Fewer Traffic Fatalities

New York, NY: The passage of medical marijuana legalization is associated with reduced traffic fatalities among younger drivers, according to data published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Public Health.

Investigators from Columbia University in New York and the University of California at Davis analyzed traffic fatality data from the years 1985 to 2014.

They reported that states with medical cannabis laws had lower overall traffic fatality rates compared to states where cannabis is illegal, and that there was an immediate decline in motor vehicle deaths following the establishment of a legal cannabis market - particularly among those under 44 years of age.

Authors concluded: "[O]n average, MMLs (medical marijuana laws) states had lower traffic fatality rates than non-MML states. .... MMLs are associated with reductions in traffic fatalities, particularly pronounced among those aged 25 to 44 years. ... It is possible that this is related to lower alcohol-impaired driving behavior in MML-states."

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, "US traffic fatalities, 1985-2014, and their relationship to medical marijuana laws," appears in the American Journal of Public Health.