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Legalization of Marijuana Linked to Increased Risk of Auto Accident Personal Injuries

Georgia continues to criminalize the use and possession of marijuana for recreational use. While there is a very narrow exception for use of marijuana for medical purposes, the statute is not nearly has broad as found in many other states. Accordingly, marijuana is not as readily available in Georgia compared to other states that have fully legalized marijuana for all purposes or fully legalized marijuana to medical use. As the findings of a  new study shows,  this may be for the  good since legalization of marijuana is linked to an increase in the number of auto accident personal injuries.

The  information comes from a new study that was conducted in Canada.  In  2018, Canada became the second country in the world to legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational  purposes.   According to the study, that decision has resulted in a significant increase in the number of auto accident injuries that are serious enough to  lead to a visit to the emergency room.

The study is quick to affirm  that marijuana – related emergency room  visits after car accidents are still uncommon, but the percentage of such auto accidents has been skyrocketing since the 2018 legalization of marijuana.   According to the study, there has been a  475% increase in car accident personal injuries linked to marijuana use, with the increase being even sharper following the 2018 legalization of marijuana. On the other hand,  there has not been  a similar increase in the number of alcohol – related car accident personal injuries resulting in emergency room visits during the same period of time.

The researchers found that the number of emergency room visits for car accident- related personal injuries due to cannabis use increased from .18 in 2010 to 1.01 in 2021. When the country legalized non – medical cannabis,  it led to a 94% increase in the number of emergency room  visits for car accident personal injuries involving marijuana use.  Commercialization of marijuana happened over the pandemic and since then, there  has been a 223% increase in the rate of emergency visits linked to car accidents involving cannabis use.

Males were found to be at an extremely high risk of being involved in such emergency room visits.  Other  at-risk  categories included those between the ages of 19 and 21  and people from lower income neighborhoods.

The researchers also make note of the fact that much of the study period covered the pandemic when there was a drop in driving volumes and therefore, it is hard to say for certain that legalization was to blame for this increase in auto accident personal injuries. They do however believe that it is important for legalization efforts to also partner with an increase in car accident prevention efforts and initiatives.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons who have suffered  injuries in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across the state of Georgia.  If you or a loved one have suffered injuries  in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and discuss your legal options for a claim for damages.  You may   qualify for damages that include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and other forms of compensation.   Talk  to an attorney  at our firm and discuss your case.   Initial   consultations are free. 


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