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Could legalized marijuana result in more drugged driving?

As Connecticut lawmakers consider legalizing the sale of marijuana for recreational use, opponents are insisting that doing so would lead to an increase in drugged driving and other ills. While proponents in the legislature say that the tax revenues to reaped from passing the law would outweigh any detriments, an anti-marijuana group alleges that the move would actually cost the state more than $200 million in less than two years. The costs, the group says will stem from the administration and enforcement of the law.

Enforcement costs include those associated with more impaired driving and workplace accidents that lead to personal injury or even death. Impaired driving due to alcohol and the use of both legal and illegal drugs on the state's highways. Drunk drivers are implicated in about 40 percent of Connecticut's annual traffic fatalities, putting the state among the highest in the nation when it comes to the percentage of traffic deaths involving alcohol.

Additionally, a 2017 study conducted by AAA shows that Connecticut already has a much higher instance of drugged driving than other states. Looking at drivers who died in 2015, the study found that more than 60 percent of drivers who dies in traffic deaths in Connecticut tested positive for drugs. Marijuana was the commonly found drug in the drivers' systems. The national average was 43 percent.

Clearly, if recreational marijuana becomes legal, there could be an increase in impaired driving on Connecticut's roads, streets and highways. If a motorist, passenger or loved one has been injured in an accident with an impaired driver, their best recourse is to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. A seasoned lawyer can help the victims of an impaired driver obtain compensation for their injuries and damages.

Source: Hartford Business Journal, "Opponents: Legal weed would cost CT $216M by 2020," Patricia Daddona, Feb. 15. 2018

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