Relationship Between Medical Marijuana Laws (MMLs) and Traffic Fatalities in the US

"Our study suggests that, on average, MMLs are associated with reductions in traffic fatalities, particularly pronounced among those aged 25 to 44 years, a group representing a great percentage of all registered patients for medical marijuana use,29 and with increased prevalence of marijuana use after the enactment of MMLs.30 Although increases in marijuana use following the establishment of marijuana dispensaries could reduce the occurrence of alcohol-related mortality by reducing the number of drivers driving under the influence of alcohol, other simultaneous factors at the state and local levels also may be responsible for these changes in traffic fatalities. Our findings show great heterogeneity of the MML–traffic fatalities associations across states, suggesting the presence of these other mechanisms. This is important for policy development and for the debate of the enactment or repealing of MMLs, given that alternative local strategies such as stronger police enforcement and programs aiming to reduce impaired driving involving any substance use could be local factors linked to reductions in traffic fatalities in MML states."


Julian Santaella-Tenorio, Christine M. Mauro, Melanie M. Wall, June H. Kim, Magdalena Cerdá, Katherine M. Keyes, Deborah S. Hasin, Sandro Galea, and Silvia S. Martins. US Traffic Fatalities, 1985–2014, and Their Relationship to Medical Marijuana Laws. American Journal of Public Health: February 2017, Vol. 107, No. 2, pp. 336-342. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303577