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Study: Crashes increase in states where marijuana is legal

Posted at 4:05 PM, Oct 18, 2018

New research released today from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that vehicular crashes have increased in states where recreational marijuana is legal.

The nonprofit organization took crash data from four states where recreational pot is legal: Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Colorado.

The findings revealed crashes were up as much as 6 percent, when compared with adjacent states that don't have legalized marijuana.

Now, the research doesn't prove marijuana is directly responsible for the increase, but it does show a correlation.  The organization’s president says we should all take these numbers as an early warning sign.

“The real key is not so much the magnitude of the number as it is the direction we're seeing,” says David Harkey, president at Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “And that we think this is a really good early indicator of the potential issues associated with this policy change of recreational use of marijuana.”

There are still a lot of unknowns regarding marijuana in terms of how it affects the human body. For example, when someone is drunk, you can measure their blood alcohol content with a breathalyzer. However, there is no equivalent real-time test for measuring THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana.