A University of Iowa study found that states’ auto insurance premiums fell after medical marijuana was legalized, suggesting that drinking and driving may not be as dangerous as drinking and driving.
Cameron Ellis, a professor of finance at the University of Iowa (U of I), said they looked at insurance data at the zip code level and found that states that legalized medical marijuana between 2014 and 2019 increased premiums by an average of $22 each Drivers would have lowered first year.
“In areas that had high levels of drunk driving before medical cannabis was legalized, rates dropped much more sharply,” Ellis said, “because as bad as marijuana is for driving, alcohol is even worse, and so it’s sort of like that decline.” Driving under the influence leads to the decline.”
There are probably two explanations for this, Ellis said. The first is that some of the people arrested for drunk driving simply switched their favorite recreational drug from alcohol to weed, and that cannabis and alcohol affect drivers in different ways.
“But another possible reason is that when you use alcohol and marijuana together, most of the time you do it at home,” Ellis said local media. “You don’t smoke in a bar, you smoke at home, so you literally drive less while drinking, even if you’re not drinking less.”
Opponents of legalization say any interference is dangerous
Opponents of marijuana legalization point to the damage already being done by people driving under the influence and argue that legalizing any other mind-altering substance will only lead to more accidents, injuries and deaths.
Ellis argues that the UI study essentially refutes this idea, as alcohol and cannabis affect drivers in different ways.
“There’s this line from someone who says, ‘Oh, I’m a better driver when I’m drunk’, but no, you’re not, but you’re really, really confident and that causes a lot of problems,” said he said, “During [with] Notoriously marijuana, you’re paranoid that there are cops…