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Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, was quoted as saying "change is the only constant in life." And this has proved to be true when it comes to perceptions regarding the use of marijuana as well as laws dealing with marijuana. Marijuana is used to treat a number of conditions, including: chronic pain, seizures, cancer, and muscle spasms for those with multiple sclerosis and etc. But, marijuana poses some apparent risks such as impaired mental and physical performance. This may lead to an increase in car crashes. A 2018 study found that in states with legal recreational use of marijuana, crashes were up 6% compared with 4 neighboring states with restricted recreational use. When taken in high doses, marijuana can lead to hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, psychosis, and even schizophrenia. As more states legalize marijuana for recreational use, the affects marijuana has on an individual’s mental state while driving is something that will clearly have to be taken into consideration.
The federal government currently considers use of marijuana illegal. Ten (10) states have passed laws legalizing recreational use of marijuana, and five (5) other states are currently considering amending their laws. If an officer believes a driver is impaired, an Operating Under the Influence of Drugs (OUI) charge can be issued. Once a driver is arrested and brought back to the police station further assessments, tests and screenings can check for impairment. As the legal status of marijuana use changes, more considerations will have to be taken regarding the use of marijuana with operating vehicles. While any increase in motor vehicle accidents is cause for concern, motor vehicle accident increases pertaining to the use of marijuana draw special attention as laws continue to change. To avoid lengthy legal proceedings and court costs, Don’t Get High and Drive®.
Dr. Nina & Shayla Awolusi, MHSA
TOVA Community Health
Primary Specialty Care