Public Health and Safety

Legalization of Recreational Marijuana & Increased Traffic Fatality Rates

Released in the June 22, 2020 version of JAMA Internal Medicine (doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1769 ) comes research from Kamer ( that examines the fatal motor vehicle collision rates in the original four states that legalized marijuana for “recreational” use. Three of the four states did record increases in their fatal collision rates post legalization. The authors did report the increases in fatality rates locally, but also projected that if marijuana was legalized nationally that could be associated to an additional 6,800 roadway deaths per year. Given that recreational legalization only began in 2013, the authors noted it is possible other factors, along with legalization, could have contributed to this increase. Like so many other issues associated to legalization and public health, more time and continued objective research is needed to gain a  clear understanding of the real dangers that comes from marijuana’s legalization. 

Read time: 10 minutes

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine (doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1769 )