Why is it that when states adopt medical cannabis laws, alcohol consumption goes down and there are fewer traffic fatalities?  This study from the Journal of Law and Economics examines the relationship between the legalization of medical marijuana and traffic fatalities, which is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 5-34.

Scientists noted that the first full year after coming into effect, legalization of medical cannabis “was associated with an 8–11 percent decrease in traffic fatalities.”

Authors write that “legalization is also associated with sharp decreases in the price of marijuana and alcohol consumption, which suggests that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes.” They conclude “alcohol is the likely mechanism through which the legalization of medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities.

Imagine that….  -Dr. Jake Felice

Anderson DM, Hansen B, Rees DI. Medical marijuana laws, traffic fatalities, and alcohol consumpion. J Law Econom 2013;56(2):333-69.