Collisions are up by about 6 percent in states that have legalized recreational marijuana use, according to new research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and its partner, the Highway Data Loss Institute.
In another study researchers compared the number of police-reported crashes from 2012 to 2016 before and after weed hit retail shelves in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington and found a combined 5.2 per cent increase in the rate of crashes per million vehicle registrations, compared to neighboring states that haven't legalized marijuana sales.
Driving under the influence of any drug can greatly reduce the safety of both the driver and every person around that driver, because even though marijuana might not wreck your brain in the same way several shots of tequila would, it still messes with important systems like balance and reaction time.
"The new IIHS-HLDI research on marijuana and crashes indicates that legalizing marijuana for all uses is having a negative impact on the safety of our roads, "IIHS-HLDI President David Harkey said in a news release". Factors such as the rated driver population, insured vehicle fleet, urban versus rural differences, unemployment, weather and seasonality were all taken into account. They found that collision claims are the most frequent kind of claims insurers receive.
'States exploring legalizing marijuana should consider this effect on highway safety, ' he added.
Marijuana is still illegal under federal law and it's illegal to drive under the influence of the drug in all 50 states.
The results of this study come only hours after Canada legalized recreational marijuana, becoming only the second national after Uruguay to do so.
Vehicle crashes have risen in states that have legalized marijuana, according to new reports.
"We know a lot of states are considering making recreational marijuana available", Harkey said.
But Harkey admitted that the role that marijuana plays in crashes is much more hard to determine than that of alcohol.
"You shouldn't be behind the wheel regardless of what the substance is", Harkey said. Missouri and Utah could expand medical marijuana, also in November.