New study links legal weed to a spike in car crashes

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at police reports and insurance claims in Colorado, Washington and Oregon — and found since legalizing recreational marijuana, crashes spiked as much as 6% compared to neighboring states. 

But cannabis attorney Sarah Gersten pointed to a 2017 study, that found no increase in *fatal* crashes after legalization.  

She says legal weed, means fewer drunk drivers on the road. 

“We’re seeing a move to using cannabis, which compared to those other substances is much less impairing,” Gersten said.

This month, the National Traffic Safety Board announced a wreck in Texas that killed 13 people last year, was caused by a driver under the influence of marijuana and prescription drugs. 

The NTSB warned…”the rising tide of drug-impaired driving did not begin with this driver, and it will not end with him.”

“We need the medical research community and others to help us understand what it means to have THC in our system,” Gersten said.

There is no nationwide legal limit for THC…and breathalyzers to test for it are just now being developed. Marijuana activists argue legalization would speed up that process. 

“Because marijuana is still prohibited on the federal level, that has an impact on researchers, scientists…being able to conduct studies,” said Gersten.

The NTSB and the IIHS says law enforcement needs better tools and training to deal with drivers under the influence of marijuana. 

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