Study connects marijuana use to car accidents

When recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, one thing that detractors pointed out was that they thought it may cause more car accidents. If people used marijuana more often, wouldn't it stand to reason that some of them would get behind the wheel, just like people do after drinking alcohol? It may be illegal, but it still happens.

Well, that argument has a bit more fuel now, as a recent study did connect marijuana use with a rise in accidents in the state. Since marijuana was legalized, the total amount of accidents in Colorado has gone up by roughly 10%.

"We need to think carefully about the potential health effects of substantially enhancing the accessibility of cannabis," said the author of the study, who is a cardiologist.

Naturally, driving after using marijuana is illegal; it's not as if lawmakers did not know it would be dangerous at the time. It's regulated much the same way as drunk driving. However, the rise in accidents suggests that people may not fully understand the risks or may be willing to take them anyway -- just as people continue to drive under the influence of alcohol, despite the illegality of doing so and the many studies showing how dangerous it is.

"These data demonstrate the need to caution strongly against driving while under the influence of any mind-altering substance, such as cannabis, and may suggest that efforts to combat addiction and abuse of other recreational drugs become even more important once cannabis has been legalized," the author added.

Have you gotten injured in an accident with a driver who was under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or any other substance? If so, you may have a right to financial compensation for your medical bills and other costs.

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