Recent studies tie marijuana to more collisions, but not fatalities

Data from a new study by an insurance industry nonprofit ties marijuana legalization to higher vehicle collision claims. Overall, however, a clear picture of how legalization affects road safety could be years away.

Late last month, two new studies received a flurry of news coverage and at first blush appeared contradictory: An insurance-industry nonprofit found that collision claims had increased in states that legalized marijuana compared to others, while a paper published in an academic journal found no link between legalization and traffic fatalities.

Both fueled a now-predictable turn in the news cycle, producing headlines like, “Study: legal pot behind rise in car crashes” (CBS Denver) and “Auto crashes are on the rise in marijuana states” (CNBC).

There were also reports noting the apparent disconnect between the studies’ conclusions — that marijuana appeared to increase collisions, on the one hand, but

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