Research done at Columbia University has concluded that states who adopted medical marijuana laws, on average, saw a reduction in traffic fatalities of 11%. When compared to states without medical marijuana laws the average medical marijuana state lowered traffic fatalities by 26%. The findings showed larger reductions in traffic fatalities for patients aged 25-44 (12%) compared to patients over 44 years old (9%). Researchers speculate what is causing the decrease in traffic fatalities, whether its attributed to less alcohol consumption in patients, stronger law enforcement, or stronger public health laws. More studies will be done in the future including the number of non-fatal traffic injuries associated with cannabis, but until then everyone can agree more research is needed.
Specifically, the researchers observed an 11 percent reduction of among those aged 15 to 24 years, 12 percent for ages 25 to 44, and 9 percent for those 45 years and older. Operational dispensaries were also associated with a significant reduction in traffic fatalities in those aged 25 to 44 years at 5 percent.
"These findings provide evidence of the heterogeneity of medical marijuana laws and indicate the need for further research on the particularities of implementing the laws at the local level. It also indicates an interaction of medical marijuana laws with other aspects, such as stronger police enforcement, that may influence traffic fatality rates," noted Santaella-Tenorio.