The legalization of marijuana is going to be a major trend in the years to come. It already is taking place on a state level, but within twenty years it will not be a surprise to say that it may be decriminalized on a federal level. That said, it is going to bring its own set of different challenges and changes to society.
One of these is going to be rate of accidents. Marijuana is a drug, and like alcohol, it tends to make people react slower to situations because it depresses the nervous system. I expected that as legalization increased, there would be more marijuana-related accidents. This speculation now seems to have some proof behind it, as a new study found that legalization of marijuana in the same states resulted in a doubling of marijuana-related accidents in five years.
In the five years before marijuana was legal, about 8.8 percent of crashes in Washington involved drivers with THC in their system. In the five years following its legalization, that rate rose to 18 percent. Detailed statistics for the same period in other states are not yet available, as they don’t have five years’ worth of data to analyze.
The average number of THC-positive drivers increased, too. In the five years before legalization, an average of 56 drivers involved in fatal crashes each year were THC-positive. In the five years after legalization, the average jumped to 130. (source)
Since it is expected that at some point other drugs will be legalized, one must wonder what the effects of drugs such as cocaine, and possibly heroin or LSD would be. Those are certainly in the future, but one should expect that at some point an effort will be made to legalize them.