Marijuana “legalization” (Medical Marijuana Laws) will lead to an increase in traffic fatalities, right?
Not so, says a new study:
To date, 16 states have passed medical marijuana laws, yet very little is known about their effects. Using state-level data, we examine the relationship between medical marijuana laws and a variety of outcomes. Legalization of medical marijuana is associated with increased use of marijuana among adults, but not among minors. In addition, legalization is associated with a nearly 9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely to due to its impact on alcohol consumption. Our estimates provide strong evidence that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes.
A possible explanation is that marijuana supplants binge drinking:
Using data from the Beer Institute, we find that beer sales fall after a MML comes into effect, suggesting that marijuana substitutes for beer, the most popular alcoholic beverage among young adults.
Note: paper is still going through peer-review