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Medical Cannabis Laws Reduce Number Of Traffic Deaths Due To Lower Alcohol Consumption


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USA: Medical cannabis laws reduce number of traffic deaths due to lower alcohol consumption

 

A new study shows that laws legalizing the medical use of cannabis 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 in Denver who co-authored the study with D. Mark Anderson, assistant professor of economics at Montana State University.

 

The researchers collected data from a variety of sources including the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The study is the first to examine the relationship between the legalization of medical cannabis and traffic deaths. 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 the 13 states that legalized medical cannabis between 1996 and 2009. "Although we make no policy recommendations, it certainly appears as though medical marijuana laws are making our highways safer," Rees said.

 

The study also examined cannabis use in three states that legalized medical cannabis in the mid-2000s, Montana, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Cannabis use by adults increased after legalization in Montana and Rhode Island, but not in Vermont. There was no evidence that cannabis use by minors increased.

 

More in: "Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption":

- www.iza.org/en/webcontent/publications/papers/viewAbstract?dp_id=6112

- www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-11/uocd-ssm112911.php

 

(Source: EURekalert of 29 November 2011)

 

http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/publications/papers/viewAbstract

 

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-11/uocd-ssm112911.php

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