Laws allowing medical marijuana have little impact on road safety

July 25, 2018 by Jennifer French Giarratano, Georgia State University

State laws that allow the use of medical marijuana are not significantly associated with cannabis-involved driving, according to a new study by Georgia State University associate professor of criminal justice and criminology Eric Sevigny.

Neither are those laws that allow for specific supply provisions, including home cultivation and unlicensed or quasi-legal dispensaries, Sevigny said.

The study, published in Accident Analysis and Prevention in June, uses data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and examines vehicular accidents that led to a death between 1993 and 2014.

Sevigny found that in only those jurisdictions with state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries did the odds of marijuana-involved driving increase by a significant 14 percent. In those , an additional 87-113 drivers per year tested positive for the drug during the study period.

"It could be that when a dispensary is the point-of-sale, people are more likely to consume the product before getting behind the wheel or reaching their next destination," he said.

The study also found a decrease in marijuana-involved fatal driving accidents in states that neighbor dispensary states, which may be a spillover effect driven by stricter enforcement in those jurisdictions.

"More than half of the states have passed laws. Nine states and the District of Columbia have outright legalized adult recreational marijuana use," said Sevigny, whose research at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies focuses on crime and public policy. With states enacting and amending these laws at such a fast pace, policymakers need reliable evidence of their impact on driving and roadway safety."

Sevigny encourages states and policymakers considering the legalization of medical or recreational marijuana to use this research and employ proactive laws and tactics.

"States considering the legalization of marijuana should consider using strategies such as pre-rollout messaging that communicates the dangers of drugged driving, like the drunk driving campaigns that have been successful," Sevigny said. "In addition, states may want to implement regulations governing dispensary siting and home delivery services that would potentially decrease the number of people driving while under the influence of ."

Explore further: More teens than ever would try marijuana

More information: Eric L. Sevigny. The effects of medical marijuana laws on cannabis-involved driving, Accident Analysis & Prevention (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.aap.2018.05.023

Related Stories

More teens than ever would try marijuana

June 6, 2018
(HealthDay)—One in four U.S. high school seniors would try marijuana or use it more often if it was legal, a new survey finds.

Marijuana legalization may reduce opioid use

April 4, 2018
(HealthDay)—State implementation of medical marijuana laws is associated with a reduction in the rate of opioid prescribing, according to a study published online April 2 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Debunking claims about medical marijuana

February 22, 2018
In 1996, California became the first US state to legalise marijuana use for medical purposes. Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states. Opponents of medical marijuana argue that such laws increase recreational marijuana ...

Study questions link between medical marijuana and fewer opioid deaths

February 6, 2018
The association between medical marijuana and lower levels of opioid overdose deaths—identified previously in several studies—is more complex than previously described and appears to be changing as both medical marijuana ...

Recent study in Oregon reveals public considers alcohol more harmful than marijuana

February 7, 2018
As the national conversation about marijuana legalization continues, an important question is how changing marijuana policy may influence use of other substances, such as alcohol. A new study, led by researchers at RTI International, ...

No uptick in marijuana use by adolescents after states pass medical marijuana laws

October 19, 2016
Adults over the age of 25 increased their use of marijuana after their home states made changes to medical marijuana laws, according to new research by scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. ...

Recommended for you

A co-worker's rudeness can affect your sleep—and your partner's, study finds

December 14, 2018
Rudeness. Sarcastic comments. Demeaning language. Interrupting or talking over someone in a meeting. Workplace incivilities such as these are becoming increasingly common, and a new study from Portland State University and ...

A holiday gift to primary care doctors: Proof of their time crunch

December 14, 2018
The average primary care doctor needs to work six more hours a day than they already do, in order to make sure their patients get all the preventive and early-detection care they want and deserve, a new study finds.

Teens get more sleep with later school start time, researchers find

December 12, 2018
When Seattle Public Schools announced that it would reorganize school start times across the district for the fall of 2016, the massive undertaking took more than a year to deploy. Elementary schools started earlier, while ...

Large restaurant portions a global problem, study finds

December 12, 2018
A new multi-country study finds that large, high-calorie portion sizes in fast food and full service restaurants is not a problem unique to the United States. An international team of researchers found that 94 percent of ...

Receiving genetic information can change risk

December 11, 2018
Millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis and received information that not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk, ...

Yes please to yoghurt and cheese: The new improved Mediterranean diet

December 11, 2018
Thousands of Australians can take heart as new research from the University of South Australia shows a dairy-enhanced Mediterranean diet will significantly increase health outcomes for those at risk of cardiovascular disease ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.