The legal use of recreational and medical marijuana is one of the country’s
most pressing social and political issues. As of 2019, 10 states have
legalized recreational cannabis use for adults over the age of 21, while
33 states currently allow patients to use marijuana specifically for medicinal purposes.
Florida has an interesting, albeit recent, history when it comes to the
legalization of medical marijuana. After the “Charlotte’s
Web” Act passed in 2014, patients with serious medical conditions
– such as cancer and epilepsy – could use marijuana with low
THC levels as a treatment option. In the last couple years, the Right
to Try Act and the Florida Medical Marijuana Initiative have further expanded
what conditions are eligible for cannabis treatments.
According to the PEW Research Center, approximately 62% of Americans support
the legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal purposes.
Statistically, it’s likely that we’ll see more states legalize
the use of recreational cannabis products in the coming years. However,
many Florida lawmakers and law enforcement officials are concerned that
the expanding availability of cannabis products may lead to an increase
in automobile accidents.
“Legalized Marijuana Linked to a Sharp Rise in Car Crashes,” Paul A. Eisenstein, a writer for NBC News, claims that “There has
been an increase by up to 6 percent in the number of highway crashes in
four of the states where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized…The
new reports do not prove there’s a direct risk caused by the use
of marijuana among motorists, but they raise caution flags.” According
to Eisenstein, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) assessed
highway crash data, police reports, and insurance claims from Colorado,
Nevada, Oregon, and Washington to find a correlation between recreational
marijuana use and the 5-6% increase of car accidents in each state. The
IIHs believes there is a link, especially after comparing traffic fatality
statistics from neighboring states. Concerningly, the IIH’s street-side
study of marijuana use revealed that “While those under the influence
of alcohol tend to either be driving alone or with other adults, about
14 percent of those confirmed to be using pot had a child in their vehicle.
That reflects…that marijuana use isn’t confined to evenings
and other times when adults are more likely to drink – and abuse
However, Kevin Kelleher, of FORTUNE, points out in “States with Legal Marijuana Have a Higher Rate of Car Accidents, Study
Says,” that aside from the IIHS study, multiple organizations have also completed
studies researching the connection between traffic accidents and legal
cannabis use, only to reach far more inconclusive results. For example,
in 2017, the
American Journal of Public Health reviewed reports and statistics from Colorado and Washington, only to
claim that there is “no significant association” between marijuana
legalization and traffic fatality rates.
Injured in a Car Accident? Retain Experienced Legal Representation
Despite ongoing research, no one can truly estimate how medical and/or
recreational marijuana will impact Florida traffic accidents rates. Ideally,
anyone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol should not be operating
a vehicle. However, it’s difficult for Florida lawmakers to calculate
safe THC levels because it tends to build up in a person’s system
when used on a regular basis. Because it’s a legal medical treatment
option, law enforcement officials can’t prevent residents from utilizing
their marijuana prescriptions.
Even so, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s imperative
that you contact a qualified legal representative as soon as possible.
Traffic collisions frequently lead to serious injuries and medical conditions
that require expensive treatments and rehabilitative services. At Gerber
Law, we can research if the negligent driver was abusing their prescription
or illegally using marijuana on a recreational-basis. Our
Sarasota car accident attorney is not afraid to battle for our clients both in and out of the courtroom.
By utilizing customized litigation solutions and innovative negotiation
tactics, we can secure a positive case result that reflects your personal,
financial, and legal objectives.
Contact Gerber Law
at (866) 233-4529 to schedule a consultation. We work on a contingency
fee basis, so you don’t pay any legal fees unless we secure compensation
on your behalf.