Using information from death certificates, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago compared the mortality rates in states with legal recreational cannabis dispensaries to those with only legal medical cannabis access.
The research appears in the peer-reviewed publication Social Science & Medicine.
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that recreational markets were linked to an average 10% increase in motor vehicle accident fatalities and that there was a substantial increase in crash fatalities in four of the seven states used in the study where recreational markets were legalized.
The study’s lead author, Samantha Marinello, said the results support the idea that states that have legalized recreational cannabis should prioritize funding policies and public health initiatives that raise awareness about the risks of driving under the influence of drugs.
According to researchers: “Three causes of death that are linked to cannabis use are motor vehicle accidents, suicide, and opioid overdose. Preliminary evidence suggests recreational markets may be associated with increased use among adults, which indicates there may be downstream health impacts on outcomes related to cannabis use.”