Quartz Advisor Study Challenges Assumptions on Marijuana Legalization and Road Safety

Effects Of Marijuana Traffic Fatalities Quartz Advisor
(Graph: Quartz)

A recent study by Quartz’s advisor debunks the notion that legalizing marijuana leads to increased road accidents. Focusing on four states that fully legalized marijuana in 2016 – California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada – the study found that traffic fatalities either decreased or remained stable over the three years following legalization, in contrast to states where marijuana remained illegal.

The comprehensive analysis, which examined U.S. and Canadian traffic data, also failed to establish a statistically significant change in accidents and fatalities after marijuana legalization.


Notably, the study highlights that alcohol, legal in all 50 states, remains a factor in nearly a third of automotive fatalities.

The study’s findings challenge the common belief that marijuana legalization negatively impacts road safety, emphasizing the need for nuanced understanding and evidence-based discussions.

Key Insights

  • Initial data indicated a 6.0% increase in vehicle death rates in legalized states, slightly below the national average increase of 6.2% from 2016 to 2021.
  • Excluding 2020 and 2021, legalized states saw an 11.6% decrease in traffic fatality rates from 2016 to 2019, surpassing the national decrease of 10.6%.

Expert Perspectives

  • Judi Watters from the Maine Bureau of Insurance confirmed minimal impact on the insurance industry after marijuana legalization in 2016.
  • The Casualty Actuarial Society’s comprehensive report concluded that marijuana legalization did not make roads more dangerous in the U.S. and Canada.

Implications for Road Safety

  • While marijuana can impair cognitive function, the study emphasizes that legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana does not inherently lead to riskier driving behavior.
  • As more states consider marijuana legalization, [Your Organization] encourages evidence-based decision-making and a comprehensive understanding of available data.

For more detailed insights and to access the full report, please visit qz.com/advisor/auto-insurance/has-marijuana-legalization-made-roads-less-safe.

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