Risk of Fatal Traffic Crashes Up After April 20 Cannabis Event

Risk of Fatal Traffic Crashes Up After April 20 Cannabis Event

While the study can't directly tie the crashes to pot use, the findings add to a growing body of research that suggests stoned driving can be unsafe.

An earlier survey of college freshmen found that driving after marijuana use and riding with someone using pot was common, especially among young men, and more common than alcohol-linked driving.

They started with the year 1992 (the first full year after the magazine High Times turned 4/20 into a cultural phenomenon, the doctors said) and ended with 2016 (the most recent year with available data).

"The simplest interpretation of our findings is that more drivers are impaired by cannabis on 4/20 and these drivers contribute to fatal crashes", study author Dr. John Staples, a clinical assistant professor of medicine and scientist at the University of British Columbia's Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences, told TIME.

Researchers from the Universities of Toronto and British Columbia found that on average there were 7.1 fatal vehicle crashes per hour after 4:20pm on April 20, compared to 6.4 during control periods.

Despite this, other studies assessing the risks of marijuana relative to other legal and illegal substances have shown it is around 114 times safer than alcohol.

Most accidents had no police data on drug testing so there's no way to confirm that marijuana was involved, but researchers think the drug was responsible for some crashes.

"One-fifth of Americans now live in states that have legalized recreational cannabis, and legalization is set to occur for all Canadians in July 2018", Staples said in a statement.

Marijuana is legal for medical use in most USA states and in Canada. They compared this with the number of drivers involved in fatal auto crashes on April 13 and April 27 (which are a week before and a week after April 20).

However, the USA agency also notes that directly linking marijuana use with vehicle crashes can be hard because it's often used while drinking alcohol, as well.

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A number of high-profile senators now debating legalization have that cited data from Colorado and Washington is behind their concern over Ottawa's strategy to combat a potential rise in the number of drug-impaired drivers.

Past year the state's transportation department partnered with Lyft and a pot industry group to offer discounted rides for pot users partaking in 4/20 festivities.

Each year on April 20th at 4:20 p.m., thousands of cannabis aficionados come together to light up and celebrate what has become the "high holiday" for pot smokers.

Either way, it's safe to say that driving stoned is generally less risky than driving drunk, but alcohol and pot used together can substantially increase the effects of both substances, mainly because alcohol increases the absorption rate of THC while marijuana delays the effects of booze.

Much like celebrations at midnight on New Year's eve, public 4/20 events sometimes mark 4:20 p.m.by a countdown followed by synchronized mass consumption of cannabis.

"In general, we know that younger drivers are vulnerable drivers and that probably arises from a lack of experience and maybe a tendency to take a few more risks", said Dr. Staples.

One thing is for sure - legalization allows safe alternatives to be promoted to those who need them most.

The are rumored to have referred to themselves as 'the Waldos'.

However, a new study shows that it's not only people that get high on that day, traffic fatality rates get high (er) as well. San Rafael was the home of Grateful Dead Productions, supporting a link back to the original Waldos, who are not mentioned in the flyer.

Federal MP Bill Blair says studying the effects of legalized recreational marijuana will help to understand the impact of the country's new pot laws. It also promotes "the grandmaster of all holidays: 4/20, or April 20th"'.

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