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No Uptick in Driving-Related Hospitalizations After Marijuana Legalization

Driving Cannabis

The implementation of adult-use marijuana sales in Canada is not associated with any increase in traffic injury-related hospitalizations, according to data published in the journal Addiction.

Investigators assessed nationwide rates of emergency department visits and hospitalizations in the years before and immediately following legalization.

Authors concluded, “Overall, there is no clear evidence that RCL [recreational cannabis laws] had any effect on rates of ED visits and hospitalizations for either motor vehicle or pedestrian/cyclist injury across Canada.”

The findings are consistent with those of a 2021 Canadian study that similarly “found no evidence that the implementation of the Cannabis Act was associated with significant changes in post-legalization patterns of all drivers’ traffic-injury ED visits or, more specifically, youth-driver traffic-injury ED presentations.”

Several studies from the United States also found no significant changes in traffic safety in the years immediately following the enactment of adult-use legalization, NORML noted. However, other assessments evaluating longer-term trends in traffic safety following legalization have yielded inconsistent results.

In 2022, in the U.S., a study found that when it comes to driving while under the influence of cannabis, states that have legalized the substance are seeing less of the potentially dangerous driving behavior than states that continue criminalization.

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