Lawmakers throughout the United States have been relaxing the rules for marijuana use, permitting people to take cannabis for medical purposes and even recreational purposes. Many people are embracing the more lax regulations because marijuana use has become increasingly popular. In fact, even in states where marijuana has not yet been legalized for recreational use, more people than ever are using this drug.
Unfortunately, the increase in marijuana use can have serious consequences for road safety. A driver who is on marijuana may have delayed reaction time and will not be as focused on the road as he should be. These drivers can increase the risk of a collision and can put themselves and others in danger. An experienced Boston car accident lawyer can help those who have been harmed by impaired drivers to pursue a claim for compensation.
Marijuana Use Increase Over the Past Decade
The RAND Corporation was asked by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to provide estimates on the total number of users of four illicit drugs including marijuana, cocaine, heroine and methamphetamine. The use of the rugs was tracked from 2000 to 2010 and a comprehensive report was published shedding light on patterns of drug use.
The data showed that there was an 84.3 percent increase in chronic marijuana users between 2000 and 2010. Chronic marijuana use was defined as making use of the drug four or more days over the course of the month prior to the survey. In 2000, there were 7,000,000 chronic users of marijuana but by 2010, there were 12,900,000.
The amount of marijuana consumed also increased over the same period of time. Back in 2000, 3,024 metric tons of marijuana were consumed in the United States. By 2010, 5,734 metric tons of the drug were being utilized. This is an 89.6 percent increase.
Not surprisingly, more money is being spent to buy all of this marijuana. Adjusting for inflation so all numbers are in 2010 dollars, spending nearly doubled from $21.6 billion in the year 2000 to $40.8 billion on marijuana in 2010.
The estimates demonstrating this dramatic increase in use were based on data collected from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health as well as on data from the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program. Sample data did not include active-duty military personnel; the homeless or those living in shelters; or the incarcerated. Since the incarcerated likely use drugs at higher levels than the general population, the data could actually be underestimating the increase.
This is troubling news for those who are concerned about a potential rise in drugged driving deaths. More people using marijuana and using larger amounts of it means that there are more potentially high-risk drivers on the road who could cause a collision while they are impaired.
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