'Mayhem on the roadways' is how marijuana opponents described how states would be if/when they legalized marijuana. I heard the word 'epidemic' thrown around a lot by people like Kevin Sabet and other reefer madness spreaders prior to the 2012 Election during which Colorado and Washington voters legalized recreational marijuana. The same arguments were made during the 2014 Election during which Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. legalized. So how is that claim going?
An article was recently posted on The Independent which took a close look at traffic fatality statistics in Colorado before and after legalization. Below is an excerpt and graph from that article:
It seems to me that the best way to gauge the effect legalisation has had on the roadways is to look at what has happened on the roads since legalisation took effect. Here's a month-by-month comparison of highway fatalities in Colorado through the first seven months of this year and last year. For a more thorough comparison, I've also included the highest fatality figures for each month since 2002, the lowest for each month since 2002 and the average for each month since 2002.
As you can see from the graph, the two years following legalization (which are the most current stats available) saw a lower than average level of road fatalities, and a significantly lower level compared to highs from previous years. I'm not going to go as far as saying marijuana legalization is the only contributing factor to the reduction in fatalities, but I can safely say that the scary claims made by marijuana opponents prior to legalization have not become reality, and I don't expect them too. I expect to see similar results from other states that legalize marijuana. Hopefully marijuana opponents will back off of their rhetoric since it's proving to be false, but I won't hold my breath.