Jersey Shore Personal Injury and Employment Specialists

Legal medical marijuana decreases crash fatalities study finds

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2017 | Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents |

As with alcohol, people who get behind the wheel in Monmouth County after smoking marijuana may find their ability to drive impaired. While recreational use of marijuana remains illegal on the federal level and in most parts of the country, some areas have made the move toward making it legal or decriminalizing its possession. Even more areas have recognized that marijuana has some value in treating certain medical conditions. According to Reuters, 28 states have allowed medical marijuana since 1996.

A recent study looked at the number of traffic deaths in those states where medical marijuana is legal. Surprisingly, the results found that fatal accidents actually decreased since its medicinal use was allowed. The study looked at accident statistics over a 20-year period and found that fatalities dropped 11 percent in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Two states, Connecticut and Rhode Island, bucked the trend and actually saw increases in traffic deaths. Other states saw an initial reduction in fatalities after legalization and then a gradual increase thereafter. One possible explanation for this is that medical marijuana laws are not uniform from state to state.

Medical marijuana in New Jersey is currently legal. New Jersey 101.5 reports that at this time, there are almost 11, 000 people registered for the program. Nearly 500 of the people suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which was recently added as a qualifying illness. The Department of Health has received petitions looking to add additional conditions to the eligibility list, including many that involve problems with chronic pain. The petitions are currently under review.