ALEXANDRIA, Louisiana. There may be one more reason why Louisiana may reconsider becoming the first southern state to legalize marijuana. According to a recent study covered by U.S. News & World Report, states that have legalized marijuana have seen an increase in the number of car accidents that have taken place. According to the study, accidents in Colorado and Oregon increased by 2.7 percent after recreational marijuana was legalized. As it stands, eight states have legalized recreational marijuana use.
While the study shows a strong correlation between marijuana use and increased car accidents, the studies cannot show causation. Unlike alcohol, for which there are breath tests, there are no similar roadside tests that can check drivers for marijuana use. While a blood test can detect THC, these tests cannot prove whether a person is actively under the influence because THC can remain in the blood long after the effects of marijuana go away.
Impaired driving can pose a serious risk, not only to those who are impaired, but also to other innocent drivers on the road. The Alexandria, Louisiana car accident lawyers at the Jones Law Firm understand the immense impact that drug or alcohol use behind the wheel can have on victims and families. While proving marijuana use can be challenging, a qualified lawyer can investigate police reports, witnesses, and the facts of your case to determine the factors that may have contributed to the crash. If the other driver is found responsible, you and your loved ones may be entitled to receive compensation for pain and suffering, medical costs, and lost wages.
According to CNBC, studies on marijuana legalization and car accident rates may impact states that are considering legalizing marijuana—like Louisiana. According to the Daily Beast, Louisiana is one of the harshest states when it comes to penalties for marijuana possession and sale. Yet, lawmakers have been considering legalizing marijuana in order to raise revenues. Critics worry that this will lead to more car accidents and other health and safety concerns. However, organizations like the ACLU report that Louisiana has the largest number of prisoners serving life sentences for nonviolent crimes including marijuana offenses. The vast majority of those targeted by police tend to be minorities. The ACLU reports that African Americans comprise 64% of marijuana possession arrests in Louisiana. African Americans are only 32% of the state population.
While the debate about marijuana legalization rages on, one thing is clear: officers in the states where pot has been legalized struggle with how they can best keep users off the road. While there are no tests, officers can physically assess whether a person appears to be fit to drive. If you or a loved one was in a car accident in Louisiana where marijuana use may be suspected, you may want to speak to a personal injury lawyer to help you understand your rights. Visit https://www.hdjoneslaw.com/ to learn more about how we can help you recover money for your injuries and lost wages.