By Benjie Cooper
YouTube: Lucid’s Vlog
A new study from Georgia State University examines states with active medicinal cannabis laws and their effect on patients’ ability to drive safely.
Places with active provisions for home cultivation, and legal and quasi-legal dispensaries were also included in the study.
Using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and a differences-in-differences model, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology Eric Sevigny studied the relationship between state medical marijuana laws and fatal crashes from 1993 to 2014 where cannabis was involved.
According to the study’s abstract, states with medical marijuana laws typically have a “null effect on cannabis-positive driving,” though the probability of high-driving increases 14 percent in places with state-licensed dispensaries. The percentage translates to 87 to 113 more drivers testing positive for THC annually.
“More than half of the states have passed medical marijuana laws,” said Sevigny. “Nine states and the District of Columbia have outright legalized adult recreational marijuana use.”
The study also found that when a state legalizes medicinal cannabis, neighboring states experience a reduction in marijuana-related fatal crashes, a possible spillover effect from tighter regulation in those areas.
“With states enacting and amending these laws at such a fast pace,” he said. “Policymakers need reliable evidence of their impact on driving and roadway safety.”
Sevigny says that reasonable policy implications can be gathered from the study information with regards to dispensary site decisions, delivery regulations, and policies for ‘drugged driving’ enforcement.