Although marijuana, when used to intoxication, does impair performance in a manner similar to alcohol, actual studies of the effect of marijuana on the automobile accident rate suggest that it poses less of a hazard than alcohol.
When a random sample of fatal accident victims was studied, it was initially found that marijuana was associated with relatively as many accidents as alcohol.
In other words, the number of accident victims intoxicated on marijuana relative to the number of marijuana users in society gave a ratio similar to that for accident victims intoxicated on alcohol relative to the total number of alcohol users.
However, a closer examination of the victims revealed that around 85% of the people intoxicated on marijuana were also intoxicated on alcohol.
For people only intoxicated on marijuana, the rate was much lower than for alcohol alone. This finding has been supported by other research using completely different methods.
For example, an economic analysis of the effects of decriminalization on marijuana usage found that states that had reduced penalties for marijuana possession experienced a rise in marijuana use and a decline in alcohol use with the result that fatal highway accidents decreased.
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