papers on interplay of alcohol consumption, auto fatalities & medical marijuana laws

full name / name of organization: 
Physicians for Public Safety
contact email: 

Medical Marijuana Reduces Highway Deaths

New studies suggest that legalization of medical marijuana is associated with a decrease in alcohol-related fatal crashes.
Mill Valley, California - December 12, 2010 – Statistics from Colorado, Rhode Island, and Montana indicate that legalization of marijuana is associated with an overall decrease in alcohol consumption, especially among 20 to 30 year-olds, resulting in fewer alcohol-related deaths on the highway, according to Physicians for Public Safety.
A November 2011 paper authored by D. Mark Anderson at Montana State University and Daniel I. Rees at the University of Colorado, "Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities and Alcohol Consumption," posits that the negative relationship between legalized medical marijuana and traffic fatalities involving alcohol is consistent with the hypothesis that marijuana and alcohol are "substitute" drugs.

"The booze lobby spent big bucks in 2010 to fight California's marijuana initiative for a reason," Douglas Slain, a lawyer and co-founder of Physicians for Public Safety, said. "Professors Rees' and Anderson's study shows us that even at 0.05% BAC, drivers underestimate the degree to which they are impaired, drive faster, and take more risks—whereas marijuana users, whatever the dosage, commonly drive slower, take fewer risks, and overestimate their impairment.
Earlier clinical studies have shown that driving under the influence of marijuana does not lead to an increased risk of collisions, let alone fatal accidents, due to "stoned/compensatory" behavioral patterns.
Slain said, "Medicinal cannabis is a fact of life in 16 U.S. states, Canada, the Netherlands and Israel, among other places. They all share three conditions: 1) alcohol consumption, 2) traffic fatalities, and 3) legalized medical marijuana. We seek papers and other studies from these jurisdictions, or from any other jurisdiction sharing these three conditions."
Physicians for Public Safety is an information clearinghouse [applying for 501 (c) (3) status] "calling for papers" and other studies relating to highway deaths, marijuana, and alcohol.
Contact: Douglas Slain, M.A., J.D.
Physicians for Public Safety
59 Morning Sun Avenue, # A
Mill Valley, CA 94941
T 415.888.2589 / E