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Cannabis Sales In Canada Are Not Associated With An Increase In Crash Hospitalizations

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Earlier this week we covered a report that was recently issued by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation titled, “Recreational Cannabis Consumption Spaces in Canada.” The report was published with support from the Canada Safety Council and DRIVE SOBER®.

In many ways, the report failed to provide proper context and seemed to try to portray cannabis in the most negative light possible, with a heavy focus on public roadway fearmongering. The results of a recent traffic-injury study are proving to be quite timely, as the findings of this new study seem to contradict many points that were recently offered up by cannabis opponents.

A new study based out of Canada examined traffic-injury hospitalization data in an attempt to see if the launch of legal adult-use sales in Canada was associated with an increase in traffic-injury hospitalization rates. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Toronto, Canada: The implementation of adult-use marijuana sales in Canada is not associated with any increase in traffic injury-related hospitalizations, according to data published in the journal Addiction.

Investigators assessed nationwide rates of emergency department visits and hospitalizations in the years before and immediately following legalization.

Authors concluded, “Overall, there is no clear evidence that RCL [recreational cannabis laws] had any effect on rates of ED visits and hospitalizations for either motor vehicle or pedestrian/cyclist injury across Canada.”

The findings are consistent with those of a 2021 Canadian study that similarly “found no evidence that the implementation of the Cannabis Act was associated with significant changes in post-legalization patterns of all drivers’ traffic-injury ED visits or, more specifically, youth-driver traffic-injury ED presentations.”

Several studies from the United States also found no significant changes in traffic safety in the years immediately following the enactment of adult-use legalization. However, other assessments evaluating longer-term trends in traffic safety following legalization have yielded inconsistent results.

Full text of the study, “The effect of recreational cannabis legalization on rates of traffic injury in Canada,” appears in Addiction. Additional information is available from the NORML Fact Sheet, ‘Marijuana and Psychomotor Performance.