Traffic Fatalities

So, I keep hearing about deadly crashes declining in states with medicinal cannabis laws. Reading about it, too. As I did just the other day. So, I was thinking, Blog dude! Blog fodder!

And here we are.

There’s this outfit called the Institute for the Study of Labor. It’s an international organization home ported in Bonn Germany. They go by “IZA.” They published a 2011 paper (No. 6112) titled, Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption. Granted, the study only encompasses three states, Montana, Vermont and Rhode Island, but…

They say the numbers indicate with the passage of the medicinal laws adult use of cannabis rose in two of the three states. They didn’t however, see a rise in use by minors. So far so good, eh?

But we’re talking about people dying in car crashes. Not who – or isn’t – using cannabis. Then again, maybe we are. Stay with me here.

In those states beers sales dropped a little over 5%.
Traffic fatalities dropped about 9%.

The study itself reads there could be a number of factors involved. Many folks go (drive) to the bar to socialize and knock back a few. Public cannabis smoking is generally a no-no, so do many of those folks stay home (no driving here) to indulge in a bit of the dank?

Now, I’m no proponent of getting behind the wheel of anything while loaded up, but the study does touch on the different aspects of impairment when it comes to being under the influence of cannabis or alcohol.

For whatever reason, in this study we find three states with medicinal cannabis laws and a dramatic drop in car crash fatalities. Yeah, I’d call it a rather limited look. I’d like to see all 18 states put under the microscope. They call that science. Or statistics. Or statistical science. Or something.

You wanna read the thing yourself? Be my guest.




  1. Dan Jacobs said,

    January 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    It will be the year-to-year stats that will better interpret if med mary jane laws, or even legalization, might be a factor in traffic death figures moving.

    • Gator said,

      January 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      As long as they are honest figures!

      • Dan Jacobs said,

        January 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm

        How to really know either way?

      • capndrift said,

        January 13, 2013 at 6:23 am

        A person would begin by researching the source material. Any study worth its salt describes the methodology utilized and its sources.

        California’s Beer and Beverage Distributors (CBBD) donated 10 grand in opposition of Prop. 19. It’s true when the spokesperson was queried they stated the CBBD wasn’t opposed to cannabis legalization, but took issue with the way the initiative was written. Yeah… right.

        Are the cannabis laws you’re referring to the “legalization” in WA. and CO, Dan? I’d think stats would currently be available for many of the medicinal cannabis states.

        Oregon’s MMJ law came into effect in 1998. Take a look at this chart:

        Washington’s law was passed in 1998, too. Fatalities in ’98 totaled 662. In ’99, 637.

        Now, that there aint no scientific study, but my point is I’d think an outfit that could do cool formulas with funny looking symbols and neat graphs could pull together some good data on any state that’s had MMJ laws for at least five years.

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