As many residents of Massachusetts know, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in this state.
However, there are still limits on this privilege. Importantly, it is illegal to drive while one is under the influence of this drug, even if he or she otherwise ingested it legally.
As is the case with alcohol, a person who is not fit to drive after using marijuana must either wait or must find alternate transportation.
Recent studies have suggested that there is some reason to worry that legalizing marijuana use in this state may lead to additional traffic fatalities on the roads of Massachusetts.
One recent study suggested that, if recreational marijuana were legalized across the country, 6,800 additional people would die in traffic accidents. A separate study of data from another state suggested that traffic deaths in that state increased by 75 people each year.
To be fair, the studies had a couple of important shortcomings which the authors acknowledged.
For one, because marijuana remains in a driver’s system for days or even weeks after use, it is hard to know whether these drivers were really under the influence at the time of a deadly car accident.
Furthermore, different states have different laws and regulations with respect to recreational marijuana use. The different laws may impact how often drivers choose to operate under the influence.
But the bottom line is that, even though the drug is legal in Massachusetts, driving under the influence of marijuana or any other drug is not. Just like drunk driving, high driving is an extremely dangerous activity that can lead to serious car accidents. Those hurt in such accidents may be able to obtain compensation.