According to the findings of a new study, states that have legalized marijuana either for medical and/or recreational adult use, register fewer motorists driving under the influence of marijuana when compared to those states where prohibition of marijuana is enforced.
The analysis was conducted by RTI International, a nonprofit organization. RTI relied on self-reported data provided by drivers in several states. The statistics show that people living in states without legal marijuana markets are more likely to get behind the wheel within three hours of consuming marijuana. This is in contrast to people living in states that have enacted enabling marijuana laws; these individuals are less likely to drive within three hours of using cannabis.
One possible reason for this, researchers posit, is that in jurisdictions with legal access to marijuana, people are more likely to receive information from their healthcare providers, who issue recommendations for medical marijuana cards, about the dangers of getting behind the wheel while under the influence of marijuana.
Another likely explanation is that the labeling requirements in state-legal markets compel manufacturers to place warnings about driving while under the influence of marijuana. Such warnings cannot be mandated in states that haven’t legalized marijuana, and so the residents in nonlegal states may have a higher likelihood of driving while under the influence.
The study and its findings dispel yet another claim by prohibitionists that once cannabis is legalized, cases of driving under the influence of cannabis will surge. Furthermore, the current federal administration led by President Joseph Biden passed an infrastructure bill with a provision urging states with legal marijuana markets to undertake public education campaigns about the risks of driving while intoxicated by marijuana. This research shows that on the contrary, such public education campaigns are urgently needed in states that haven’t legalized the recreational or medical use of cannabis.
Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, commented that these research findings serve to dismiss the fears of people who think that cannabis legalization triggers an uptick in driving while intoxicated due to relaxed attitudes about the substance. In fact, the reverse is true: states maintaining prohibition laws tend to have more drivers who are under the influence of marijuana unlike drivers in states with laws legalizing marijuana.
It should be noted that this study relied on self-reported cannabis use by motorists. That limitation notwithstanding, the findings challenge the long-held claim that legalization can result in more cases of impaired drivers.
The subject of ascertaining impairment is also still under debate, with some studies indicating that there is no correlation between having the legal limit or more THC in your blood and the likelihood of being involved in a crash. So if you take the necessary precaution of waiting for at least three hours postcannabis use before you drive, there is no reason to feel guilty about buying and using marijuana products made by duly licensed companies such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) to manage your health condition or relax after a long day.
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