Fatal Marijuana-Related Car Accidents Have Doubled in WA State Since Legalization

Experts say Washington state's experience could be a lesson for rest of country
Experts say Washington state's experience could be a lesson for rest of country

HealthDay News — The number of fatal motor vehicle crashes involving marijuana more than doubled after Washington state legalized the sale of the drug, according to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Marijuana became legal in Washington in December 2012, researchers said. Between 2013 and 2014, the percentage of drivers in Washington involved in fatal car accidents after using marijuana rose from 8.3 to 17.0%. In 2014 alone, 1 in 6 drivers involved in a deadly crash had recently used the drug, researchers found.

At least 20 states are currently considering marijuana legalization, the researchers said. Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, DC, have already legalized the recreational use of the drug. The drug has also been legalized for therapeutic and medicinal use in 20 states, researchers said.

Montana and Washington state have implemented a legal limit for marijuana at 5ng/mL. In Colorado, a blood concentration of at least 5ng/mL means it's likely someone was driving under the influence of the drug. Meanwhile, Nevada and Ohio have set a limit at 2ng/mL. Pennsylvania's legal limit is lower at 1ng/mL. Twelve states have strict legal limits that prohibit the presence of any levels of marijuana in drivers' blood, the study authors said.

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