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Marijuana use increasingly involved in motor vehicle crashes

The U.S. has seen a seismic shift in how it regards marijuana use. Most notable is the fact that ten states (though not Louisiana) have legalized the recreational use of it. Dozens of other states have allowed medical marijuana to be prescribed for certain ailments such as nausea from cancer treatments, including Louisiana. From a criminal law standpoint, prosecutors do not prosecute possession charges, and police rarely make an arrest solely on possession.

Now some researchers see an uptick in the number of accidents where the negligent driver tested positive for marijuana use, including Colorado where the number of fatalities involving positive tests has doubled since 2013 after it was legalized. A separate study of police-reported crashes in Colorado, Oregon and Washington saw a 5.2 percent increase in the rate of crashes compared to neighboring states where it was not legalized.

Marijuana testing not the same

Marijuana advocates, however, are quick to point out that testing does not measure the level intoxication. Whereas the blood alcohol content of .08 is the threshold of intoxication, and that level slowly goes back down once an individual stops drinking, pot can stay in the blood for a month or more, which is long after the effects have worn off.

What this means for Louisiana

The fact is that there has been a shift in regards to marijuana. Nonetheless, other drivers who admit to marijuana use or test positive may need to be held accountable if they cause damage to innocent parties. Moreover, a positive test for marijuana may mean there are also other drugs or alcohol in the system as well. An experienced personal injury attorney who handles motor vehicle accidents can be a tremendous asset for cases like these.

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