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Effects of Marijuana Legalization Policies on Fatal Car Accidents Throughout the Fifty States

Alameida, Alana (2020) Effects of Marijuana Legalization Policies on Fatal Car Accidents Throughout the Fifty States. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Abstract

Marijuana use is rapidly becoming more prevalent and accepted throughout the United States with repercussions for the public health and medical systems. Though cannabinoids remain a schedule I drug at the federal level, an increasing amount of states are passing more permissive marijuana policies at the state level. Previous research on the effects of marijuana have focused on symptomatic consequences including driving impairment, capacity for addiction, and growing therapeutic use, but studies on the associations between degree of legalization and marijuana use have been historically inconclusive. An original injury epidemiology research report was conducted using the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) to investigate total fatalities from motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) and marijuana involvement in fatal MVAs by degree of legalization. The results indicate that the odds of positive marijuana test in fatal MVAs increased with decriminalization (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.29-1.39), medical legalization (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.58-1.65), and recreational legalization (OR 2.33, 95% CI 2.24-2.42) when compared to illegalization and after controlling for age, sex, race, alcohol use and time in months. A similar result was observed with increasing policy permissiveness being slightly associated with the number of individuals testing positive for marijuana at the medical (0.25 more persons each state per month per 1,000,000, p=0.0001) and recreational (0.44 more persons each state per month per 1,000,000, p<0.0001) legalization stages though decriminalization was not statistically significant (p=0.7703). Deaths from car crashes were also positively associated at the decriminalized (0.12 more persons each state per month per 1,000,000, p<0.0001), medical (0.67 more persons each state per month per 1,000,000, p<0.0001), and recreational (3.31 more persons each state per month per 1,000,000, p<0.0001) legalization stages after controlling for state and time. Though caution should be taken in interpreting results from a biased dataset, there is evidence to suggest that marijuana policy could influence traffic safety as states continue to pass more permissive legislation, requiring an appropriate public health response.


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Details

Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Alameida, Alanaaca38@pitt.eduaca38@pitt.edu
Contributors:
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFabio, Anthonyafabio@pitt.eduafabio@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberSonger, Thomastjs@pitt.edutjs@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberYouk, Adaayouk@pitt.eduayouk@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIED
Date: 20 August 2020
Date Type: Completion
Number of Pages: 48
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2020 18:31
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2020 18:31
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/39665

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