dglobalnews.com Police Searches Drop Dramatically in States That Legalized Marijuana
Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
Medical | By Benjamin Edwards

Police Searches Drop Dramatically in States That Legalized Marijuana

The agency looked at collision claims in Washington, Oregon and Colorado before and after respective legalization took place, comparing claim frequency with five neighboring states: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

"We believe that an increase in claim frequencies did occur in these state when retail sales began", said Matt Moore, senior vice president with the Highway Loss Data Institute. Colorado and Washington were compared against 12 of these states to arrive at the conclusion that marijuana legalization likely had an effect on search rates.

The study shows more drivers admit to using marijuana and its showing up more frequently after a auto crash.

But with vehicle crashes in general, researchers at the Highway Data Loss Institute found something else.

Federal law prohibits recreational use of marijuana in the country, however, it has been approved by eight states including Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, California, Nevada and the District of Columbia.

Each of the individual state analyses also showed that the estimated effect of legalizing recreational use of marijuana varies depending on the comparison state examined. The one maintaining that collisions are up comes from the Highway Loss Data Institute, while the other offering appears in the latest edition of the American Journal of Public Health. The results of that one should be ready in 2020, so I hope you don't mind waiting.

"More drivers admit to using marijuana, and it is showing up more frequently among people involved in crashes", the researchers wrote in the report, per a Washington Times article.

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Combined, insurance claims in those states were about 3 percent higher than what would be expected without legalization.

As part of its research, the team pulled data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System that detailed the annual numbers of motor vehicle fatalities between 2009 and 2015.

The study compared crash frequency before and after legalization and, using neighboring states as controls, found a almost 3% increase. That said, risks associated with driving under the influence of marijuana are much less cut-and-dried than alcohol.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has started a large case-control study in OR to assess how legal marijuana affects the risks of injuries and collisions.

The debate over whether marijuana legalization has led to more mayhem on Colorado highways has been raging for years.

Insurance companies found several possible factors at play in the spike including distracted driving through texting or cellphone use, road construction and marijuana use.

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