Marijuana Legalization In Canada Did Not Result In Increased Traffic Injuries, Study Finds

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Canada’s move to legalize marijuana did not result in increased traffic injuries, a new study has found. In a paper published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers said they sought to investigate claims that establishing the cannabis legalization law, which took effect in October 2018, would make roads less safe, as prohibitionists frequently argue. But after analyzing Ontario and Alberta emergency department data from April 2015 to December 2019, however, they couldn’t find any evidence to support that hypothesis. “Implementation of the Cannabis Act was not associated with evidence of significant post-legalization changes in traffic-injury [emergency department] visits in Ontario or Alberta among all drivers or youth drivers, in particular,” the study states. “Legalization not associated with changes in traffic injuries in all drivers or youth drivers.” That’s despite the fact that “worldwide momentum toward legalization of recreational cannabis use has raised a common concern that such policies might increase cannabis-impaired driving and consequent traffic-related harms, especially among youth.” The study’s lead author, Russ Callaghan, said in a press release that his team’s results “show no evidence that legalization was associated with significant changes in emergency department traffic-injury presentations.” The researcher admitted that the outcome of the study is “somewhat surprising,” adding that he “predicted that legalization would increase cannabis use and cannabis-impaired driving in the population, and that this pattern would lead to increases in traffic-injury presentations to emergency departments.” “It is possible that our results may be due to the deterrent effects of stricter federal legislation, such as Bill C-46, coming into force shortly after cannabis legalization,” he said, referring to a separate impaired driving bill. “These new traffic-safety laws imposed more severe penalties for impaired driving due to cannabis, alcohol, and combined cannabis and alcohol use.” While Callaghan said he wasn’t expecting the results that…

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