While medical marijuana has been legal in California more decades, next year recreation marijuana will also be legal. Many are wondering what effect this will have on car accidents, if any. In the last decade, there have been more accidents in California, and they have been more severe. We know that driving while drunk can lead to catastrophic injuries that cause death or permanent brain damage. But what about marijuana?
At Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn, we took a look at the data that’s out there. While we can only compare our state to others at this time, we’ll know within a year what the impact will be. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and the other party was negligent, we encourage you to call us at (310) 209-1600. We can provide you a free consultation so you know what your options are.
The effect of medical marijuana on traffic accidents
One of the data points we can look at is how legalizing medical marijuana affected accidents. According to a study by Columbia University, states that legalized medical marijuana actually had fewer fatal car accidents. Their study found that traffic deaths reduced by more than 10% in states after medical marijuana was legalized. They also found that the states with legal medical marijuana had about 25% lower fatality rates for accidents than other states.
However, there have been other studies that showed very different results. Some have shown that right after medical marijuana laws are passed, fatal accidents increased. Those studies show that over time the fatal accident percentages did decrease, but that initial bump is understandably concerning.
It appears that the number of accidents may increase while the severity decreases
Of course, these legalization laws are fairly new and there isn’t yet a wealth of information about them. In fact, there are currently only four states plus Washington D.C. that allow recreational marijuana, though as of 2018 three more states will be added to that list: Massachusetts, California, and Nevada.
Studies on the states that have legalized have found that when traffic accidents increase after legalization, they are also less serious. Some have found that legalizing marijuana has had no effect on the number of fatal car accidents. No study has shown that fatal car accidents increase after these laws are passed.
A person driving while on drugs is negligent
No matter the situation, if a person chooses to drive while on any drug – including marijuana – they are putting their life and the life of others at risk. If you were involved in an accident with a person who was high on marijuana then you may have a personal injury case on your hands.
The best way to find out is to call Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn at (310) 209-1600 for a free case evaluation. We’ll get the basics of your case and give you the main options available to you. If you’re ready to find out what damages you may be entitled to, please call us today.