Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

"Early Evidence on Recreational Marijuana Legalization and Traffic Fatalities"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new paper authored by Benjamin Hansen, Keaton Miller and Caroline Weber. Here is its abstract:

Over the last few years, marijuana has become legally available for recreational use to roughly a quarter of Americans.  Policy makers have long expressed concerns about the substantial external costs of alcohol, and similar costs could come with the liberalization of marijuana policy.  Indeed, the fraction of fatal accidents in which at least one driver tested positive for THC has increased nationwide by an average of 10 percent from 2013 to 2016.  For Colorado and Washington, both of which legalized marijuana in 2014, these increases were 92 percent and 28 percent, respectively.  However, identifying a causal effect is difficult due to the presence of significant confounding factors.

We test for a causal effect of marijuana legalization on traffic fatalities in Colorado and Washington with a synthetic control approach using records on fatal traffic accidents from 2000-2016. We find the synthetic control groups saw similar changes in marijuana-related, alcohol-related and overall traffic fatality rates despite not legalizing recreational marijuana.

Some prior related posts:

"Medical or Recreational Marijuana and Drugged Driving"

NHTSA releases "Marijuana-Impaired Driving A Report to Congress"

"Too Stoned to Drive? The question is trickier than you’d think for police and the courts to answer."

Examining issues surrounding "Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana"

Still more on drugged driving laws and marijuana

"The April 20 Cannabis Celebration and Fatal Traffic Crashes in the United States"

Assembled readings on specific topics, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink


The same way there is a loop home in the Federal Justice system that allowed the states to allow marijuana usage but the feds don't, is the same way the states alloeed me to posess a firearm but the feds did not. Arrested me and trying to give me 10 years now.

Posted by: Lawrence Archer | Mar 20, 2018 10:59:27 PM

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