A recent study by the Highway Loss Data Institute, claims that automotive collisions have increased by three percent in areas that have legalized recreational cannabis. However, cannabis industry insiders are refuting these charges as anecdotal, since there is no evidence linking car crashes to cannabis use.
“There is no clear evidence linking adult-use marijuana to an increase in traffic incidents or fatalities,” Kevin Gallagher, Executive Director of the Cannabis Business Alliance, stated in an official press release. “Prior to 2014, proper coding did not designate cannabis use in traffic incidents, and this issue persists even to this day, with many studies lumping cannabis use with prescription and illicit drugs such as opioids. While the HLDI has released a study that seems to find an increase, studies from the American Journal of Public Health and Columbia University have found that incidents were not statistically different or had decreased significantly. Unfortunately, what we are seeing with the HLDI report is just another attempt to incite reefer madness, this time for the benefit of the auto insurance industry.”
The HLDI is a non-profit organization funded by insurance companies, which could explain the preference for anti-cannabis sentiment when it comes to driving. The American Journal of Public Health, a more neutral organization, published a study that refutes these claims. Instead of just car crashes, this study looked at car crash fatality rates, and determined there was no correlation between higher fatality rates and legalized states. An additional Columbia University study has offered similar findings, claiming that while some states that had legalized did see an increase in fatalities from driving accidents, others did not see a change and some saw a decrease.
“Connecting the legalization of adult-use marijuana to an increase in traffic incidents is a belligerent move by the auto insurance industry,” Gallagher claimed. “As we work to combat these claims, the cannabis industry continues its effort in educating consumers on the laws surrounding driving. It is never appropriate to operate any vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.”