A study released shortly after Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., confirmed Democrats are moving to legalize marijuana nationwide found states that have legalized the drug have experienced an increase in deadly car crashes.
DailyMail.com reported the research from McGill University that found fatal automobile accidents rose 15% and associated deaths increased 16%.
The researchers estimated that if cannabis was legalized across the U.S., there could be an additional 4,843 motor-vehicle fatalities each year.
The university began its research after recreational marijuana became legal in Canada in 2018. But because of a lack of data on Canadian drivers, they looked to the U.S., where 15 states have legalized its use.
In the U.S., the federal governemnt still bans the use of marijuana but prosecutors don’t enforce the law.
The study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that there was no conclusive difference in subsequent years after the initial rise of 15% in fatal collisions and 16% in associated fatalities.
The study estimated for Canada legalization would result in up to 308 more deaths each year, and $1.1 billion in societal and economic costs, with drivers age 34 and under mostly responsible.
Driving after using marijuana should be delayed at least six hours, the study suggested.
The study said, “Implementation of impaired driving regulations and educational campaigns, including federal THC driving limits and public awareness of these limits, may contribute to the prevention of potential increases in cannabis-impaired driving in Canada.”
Previously, the report said, a 2020 report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed the percentage of Washington state drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for THC doubled after legalization.
But DailyMail.com said the AAA report found a correlation but not a causative link between the two.
The report said the Highway Loss Data Institute in 2017 suggested legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado, Oregon and Washington state resulted in a 3% boost in car crashes.
President Biden says he supports decriminalizing marijuana, which would typically mean no arrest, prison or criminal record for first-time possession or use.
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