Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Does Medical Marijuana Save Lives on the Road---Studies Say Yes

As the legalization of marijuana spreads throughout the United States, there are many concerned citizens who have begun to question the side effects this new freedom may carry with it. Yet there may be one surprising result of legalized marijuana. A recent study found that states that have legalized medical marijuana have also seen fewer automotive deaths and injuries.

Research showed that each year the average number of fatalities due to roadway injuries has been on a steady decline—particularly in states that have legalized medical marijuana. This study however does not include Massachusetts, which didn’t pass this legalization until after the data was collected.

Those opposed to the new legal marijuana laws have voiced concerns about the effects pot would have on the safety of our roadways. Yet according to this study, deaths dropped up to 11 percent in the first year after legalizing medical marijuana. By year four, road fatalities decreased by 10-13 percent. Scientists believe the increase in smoking has decreased the amount of alcohol consumption taking place.

It is important to remember, however, that this research does not condone driving under the influence of any substance and they are still conducting studies on the effects marijuana has on your reaction time. Future studies could yield results that could change society’s perception on drug use.

The issue of legalizing marijuana has been around for decades. California was the first state to allow the use of medical marijuana back in 1994. Since then 19 other states have followed suit and two states, Washington and Colorado, have fully legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. America is paving the way for marijuana legalization and understanding all of the various factors that it has on our society and this recent study is just one more example of the benefits of legalized marijuana. 

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