The Law Offices OfPhilip M. Tobin

Is legalized marijuana contributing to an increase in accidents?

The legalization of marijuana in California has been a big win for those who support this movement. Many states have also legalized the drug in one way or another. Since this has been a fairly recent movement, there has not been a lot of information about the impact it has on society. However, recent reports from NBC News suggest that the legalization of marijuana may have a link to an increase in auto accidents.

Statistics gathered from states with legalized marijuana show a large increase in the number of auto accidents. The increase was six percent over previous years before the legalization. These statistics were compared with neighboring states that do not have legal marijuana. However, it is difficult to know how large of a role marijuana plays for a few reasons.

It is impossible for an officer to positively identify whether a driver is under the influence. There are no tests that can tell us if a person is currently affected by marijuana. While there are tests that can show if a person has it in their body, that is not indicative of whether they are currently affected by the drug. This is because marijuana can show up in a test long after the affects have worn off.

What we do know if trends in accidents show states with legal marijuana have more accidents than those without legalization. So, there seems to be enough evidence to say there is a link despite the lack of a way to test drivers on the scene.

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