How does the legalization of cannabis affect impaired driving rates? This new study might surprise you

Does legalizing cannabis increase impaired driving?

According to Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education and Regulation’s (CPEAR) recently published paper, it’s not.

One of the main conclusions of the policy report states that the effect of legalization on the discovery of DUIC is “either insignificant or declines one year after the establishment of the legal market,although the organization stressed that “more research and better data collection” is needed.

The paper entitled “Contextualizing the problem: Driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs in America” also pointed out that the use of cannabis alongside the use of other drugs can lead to impaired judgment and decision-making.

In addition, the report also attributed an increase in DUIC offenses to a lower awareness of the impacts of cannabis on one’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.

“As CPEAR has always stated, it is never safe to drive under the intoxicating influence of cannabis,” said Shanita Penny, Head of the CPEAR Center of Excellence. “US federal law should create a clear expectation that if you are driving under the influence of alcohol you will get a DUI, while embracing programs, technologies and best practices to address impaired driving. drunk. We look forward to engaging with lawmakers on this critical issue as we continue to advocate for a federal cannabis framework.

Recent Research on Marijuana and Driving

Interestingly, a recent study found that more than 40% of American drivers who use both alcohol and marijuana.

Additionally, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine Reports, frequent cannabis users in states where recreational marijuana is legal showed a significantly lower risk of self-reported DUIC within three hours of use compared to to those living in states where cannabis is not permitted. legal.

Some drivers believe that driving while intoxicated does not affect their ability to operate an automobile despite warnings from law enforcement that the number of fatal car crashes involving cannabis has more than doubled in recent years.

Either way, the total number of studies proving that cannabis legalization has a positive effect is growing.

Cannabis legalization reduces impaired driving

Earlier this year, researchers from Tennessee, Arkansas and Iowa State Universities found that the legalization of recreational cannabis in the United States reduced the number of heavy truck accidents by 11% in eight states studied.

Some states have gone further, with Pennsylvania leading the way. A recent bill to protect medical marijuana patients in Keystone State from charges of driving under the influence was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee by a 13-0 vote.

Under the bill, medical cannabis must be treated the same as any other prescription narcotic, requiring proof of the person’s incapacity to drive in order to be charged with impaired driving.

Photo: Courtesy of Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash

Denise W. Whigham