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Legalizing Marijuana May Result in Fewer Traffic Deaths

A new study found that traffic fatalities declined in states that legalized medical marijuana. The study looked at the relationship among marijuana laws, alcohol consumption and traffic-related deaths. The results were an almost 9% decline in traffic fatalities and a 5% decline in beer sales in states that legalized medical marijuana. These results are in direct contradiction to people who were concerned that legalizing medical marijuana would result in more drivers impaired from drugs and more traffic deaths.

The study looked at 13 states that legalized marijuana from 1990 – 2009. In those states, alcohol consumption was reduced for people in their 20’s, whose leading cause of death is traffic accidents. In 2009, alcohol-impaired driving contributed to about one-third of all fatal motor vehicle accidents. Reducing fatal accidents by 9% by legalizing medical marijuana would make a significant impact in the number of young people killed in motor vehicle crashes.