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On June 22, 2017, the American Journal of Public Health published a study titled, “Crash Fatality Rates After Recreational Marijuana Legalization in Washington and Colorado”.

The study appears to address one of the most contentious questions facing lawmakers and members of the public in the many states considering major cannabis reforms:

Does legalization make roads more dangerous?

According to this most recent study – it’s worth noting it comes from researchers at the University of Texas, not University of Colorado – roadways in cannabis-legal states aren’t any more deadly than roadways prohibition states.

“Pre–recreational marijuana legalization annual changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were similar to those for the control states. Post–recreational marijuana legalization changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado also did not significantly differ from those for the control states”

American Journal of Public Health Association

The full text from the American Journal of Public Health website:

Methods: We used the US Fatality Analysis Reporting System to determine the annual numbers of motor vehicle crash fatalities between 2009 and 2015 in Washington, Colorado, and 8 control states. We compared year-over-year changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates (per billion vehicle miles traveled) before and after recreational marijuana legalization with a difference-in-differences approach that controlled for underlying time trends and state-specific population, economic, and traffic characteristics.

Results: Pre–recreational marijuana legalization annual changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were similar to those for the control states. Post–recreational marijuana legalization changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado also did not significantly differ from those for the control states (adjusted difference-in-differences coefficient = +0.2 fatalities/billion vehicle miles traveled; 95% confidence interval = −0.4, +0.9).

Conclusions: Three years after recreational marijuana legalization, changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were not statistically different from those in similar states without recreational marijuana legalization. Future studies over a longer time remain warranted. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print June 22, 2017: e1–e3. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2017.303848)

Full Acknowledgements:

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