Marijuana and the Criminal justice system

Criminal Justice, Marijuana and Public safety

Research is varied on the impact of regulated marijuana on motor vehicle traffic crashes A primary concern of law enforcement is the possibility of increased impaired driving and car crashes in a regulated marijuana environment. There are challenges in measuring impairment from the effects of marijuana. Unlike alcohol, presence of THC in an individual’s blood stream does not equate to impairment. However there are two studies that were completed that returned a very different conclusion. 
The first study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, {IIHS) they analyzed insurance claims for vehicle collisions filed between January 2012 and October 2016. They compared states that had recently legalized marijuana. They claim that there was a 3% increase in collision frequencies in the states that had legalized marijuana. 
A second study published in the American Journal of public health {AJPH) found no increase in vehicle crash fatalities. The study conducted from 2009 to 2015 found no significant association between recreational marijuana legalization and fatal crashes. 
The research evaluates two different things; IIHS looked at claims for motor vehicle collisions, while the AJPH report focused more specifically on fatal crashes. It seems plausible that legalization could lead to a slight increase in minor accidents that don’t prove fatal. There is previous research that shows that medical marijuana laws are not associated with increased fatalities and may in fact lead to fewer traffic deaths
References marijuana/ American Journal of Public Health, online December 20, 2016.

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