A new study released last week has found that legalizing either medical marijuana or cannabis for recreational use is not associated with an increase in traffic fatalities that involve pedestrians. A report on the study, “An examination of relationships between cannabis legalization and fatal motor vehicle and pedestrian-involved crashes,” was published on Friday in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention.
In a statement of the study’s objectives, investigators associated with the University of Minnesota explained the rationale for their research.
“While attention has been given to how legalization of recreational cannabis affects traffic crash rates, there has been limited research on how cannabis affects pedestrians involved in traffic crashes,” they wrote. “This study examined the association between cannabis legalization (medical, recreational use, and recreational sales) and fatal motor vehicle crash rates (both pedestrian-involved and total fatal crashes).”
To conduct the study, the team of researchers investigated the association between laws legalizing cannabis and fatal motor vehicle crash rates, including both pedestrian-involved and fatal vehicle collisions. Motor vehicle accidents in three states with legal cannabis—Oregon, Washington, and Colorado—were compared to the trends in five control states. The investigators were unable to identify any increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents that could be