A major argument against legalization is a concern about marijuana use and driving. Driving while impaired by a substance can lead to death, and for many, marijuana is no exception. The facts are proving to be something quite different.
America Decides: Liquor or Weed?
Unlike in Canada, where the combination of alcohol and weed are discouraged, in America, the two have always gone together. For most Americans, they are both recreational activities with potentially dangerous consequences. Unfortunately, this was never true. Alcohol is linked to thousands of annual deaths, whereas weed is not.
The alcohol industry knows this and is already fighting for its place among America consumers. As the battle for cultural acceptance of marijuana continues, the alcohol industry stands out as one of the loudest opponents. Retail marijuana threatens its customer base; so much, that beer industry leaders funded opposition to weed legalization in Massachusetts.
Marijuana Trumps Beer
What do Americans think? Well, in states where alcohol and marijuana compete for customers, marijuana is winning. Colorado, Oregon, and Washington are famous for their liberal attitudes toward beer and weed. These three states produce a variety of craft beers as well as the famous brands of Budweiser and Coors. In the Seattle area, residents purchase liquor in their grocery stores and are entertained by men dressed in weed suits advertising 420 specials on busy intersections.
These states allow nearly equal marketing of beer and marijuana, and all three dropped in beer consumption. This is according to an alcohol industry study, published in Brewbound, which revealed that fewer people are buying alcohol where they can legally buy weed.
MMJ Does Not Increase Accidents
With the decline in alcohol use comes a reduction in alcoholism-related deaths. Is it a coincidence? We think not.
In a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers discovered that medical marijuana states had overall lower traffic fatalities than those where marijuana was illegal. They also noticed an immediate decline in vehicular deaths in states with legalized marijuana.
Although study authors did not credit cannabis for the safer driving, they did suggest a decline in alcohol use because of marijuana. They also noticed fewer accidents near medical dispensaries. The results were limited to drivers aged 15 to 44. There were few, if any, reductions in drivers 45 and over.
Because of the impacted ages, the study suggests that younger people prefer marijuana over alcohol.
It also suggests that even with the munchies and excessive couch lock, a stoned driver is way less dangerous than a drunk driver.