Medical marijuana laws and driving under the influence of marijuana and alcohol

David S. Fink, Malki Stohl, Aaron L. Sarvet, Magdalena Cerda, Katherine M. Keyes, Deborah S. Hasin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aims: Medical marijuana law (MML) enactment in the United States has been associated with increased cannabis use but lower traffic fatality rates. We assessed the possible association of MML and individual-level driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC) and also under the influence of alcohol (DUIA). Design and setting: Three cross-sectional U.S. adult surveys: The National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey (NLAES; 1991–1992), the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC; 2001–2002), and the NESARC-III (2012–2013). Participants: The total n was 118 497: 41 764, 41 184, and 35 549 from NLAES, NESARC, and NESARC-III, respectively. Measurements: Across the three surveys, similar questions in the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule assessed DUIC and DUIA. Ever-MML states enacted MML between 1991–1992 and 2012–2013 (overall period). Early-MML states enacted MML between 1991–1992 and 2001–2002 (early period). Late-MML states enacted MML between 2001–2002 and 2012–2013 (late period). MML effects on change in DUIC and DUIA prevalence were estimated using a difference-in-differences specification to compare changes in MML and other states. Findings: From 1991–1992 to 2012–2013, DUIC prevalence nearly doubled (from 1.02% to 1.92%), increasing more in states that enacted MML than other states (difference-in-differences [DiD] = 0.59%; 95% CI = 0.06%–1.12%). Most change in DUIC prevalence occurred between 2001–2002 and 2012–2013. DUIC prevalence increased more in states that enacted MML 2001–2002 to 2012–2013 than in never-MML states (DiD = 0.77%; 95% CI = −0.05%-1.59%), and in two early-MML states, California (DiD = 0.82; 95% CI = 0.06–1.59) and Colorado (DiD = 1.32; 95% CI = 0.11–2.53). In contrast, DUIA prevalence appeared unrelated to MML enactment. Conclusions: Medical marijuana law enactment in US states appears to have been associated with increased prevalence of driving under the influence of cannabis, but not alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAddiction
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Driving under the influence
  • drug policy
  • legal epidemiology
  • marijuana
  • marijuana law
  • medical cannabis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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