US: Medical Marijuana Reduces Traffic Deaths, Alcohol
US: Medical Marijuana Reduces Traffic Deaths, Alcohol Use
A groundbreaking new study shows that laws legalizing medical marijuana have resulted in a nearly nine percent drop in traffic deaths and a five percent reduction in beer sales.
“Our research suggests that the legalization of medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities through reducing alcohol consumption by young adults,” said Daniel Rees, professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver who coauthored the study with D. Mark Anderson, assistant professor of economics at Montana State University.
Daniel I. Rees, University of Colorado Denver: “Although we make no policy recommendations, it certainly appears as though medical marijuana laws are making our highways safer”"We were astounded by how little is known about the effects of legalizing medical marijuana,” Rees said. “We looked into traffic fatalities because there is good data, and the data allow us to test whether alcohol was a factor.”
Anderson noted that traffic deaths are significant from a policy standpoint. “Traffic fatalities are an important outcome from a policy perspective because they represent the leading cause of death among Americans ages five to 34,” he said.
The economists analyzed traffic fatalities nationwide, including in the 13 states that legalized medical marijuana between 1990 and 2009. In those states, they found evidence that alcohol consumption by those between 20 and 29 years old went down — resulting in fewer deaths on the road.