Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Legalizing Marijuana Could Save Lives, Study Shows

Mason Tvert, executive director of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), and coauthor of Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? was on David Sirota’s progressive talk radio show last Friday to talk about the shocking results of a new study. Well, Mason isn’t shocked, he’s more like, I told ya so!

A study released this week by the University of Colorado Denver (If you’re feeling brainy, check out the whole thing here: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=4915) shows that the legalization of medical marijuana significantly reduces alcohol consumption and, as a result, alcohol-related traffic deaths. The study, hailed as “groundbreaking” by the University, is the first to examine the effect of legalizing medical marijuana on the prevalence of traffic fatalities.

Researchers analyzed traffic fatalities nationwide, and in those states that have legalized medical marijuana they found that alcohol consumption went down among those 20 to 29 years old, resulting in fewer deaths on the road.  The study noted past research that suggests drivers under the influence of alcohol are far more reckless than drivers under the influence of marijuana.  Whereas those using alcohol drive faster, take more risks, and underestimate their level of impairment, those using marijuana drive slower, avoid risks, and recognize when they are too impaired to drive.

It’s just more fuel for the fire for legalization advocates like Tvert, who have argued for the public health benefits of de-criminalizing marijuana for years. Check out Mason’s organization, SAFER, and of course, the book! David Sirota’s website.


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