Now that recreational marijuana is legal in California, the state is seeing a noticeable increase in car accidents.
When Californians voted to legalized recreational weed in 2016, only a handful of them actually weighed the pros and cons of making marijuana available for sale to millions of Los Angeles residents.
One of the major cons of legalizing pot in any state is a sharp increase in marijuana-impaired drivers on the streets.
Weed sales are set to be booming in California since selling recreational marijuana became legal on January 1, 2018. The state has already become the largest weed market in the nation.
While not all cities of California have given green light on cannabis legalization, the impact of the new law has already been felt across the U.S., particularly by those who were unfortunate to become victims of car accidents involving weed-impaired motorists.
Weed legalization in California causes more car accidents
Thousands of Californians rushed to pot shops in the early hours of Monday, Jan. 1, to get their hands on the long-awaited, now-legal recreational marijuana across the state.
Many chose to celebrate the milestone achievement by smoking marijuana and getting under the wheel of their vehicles while stoned that day.
As the number of weed- and drug-impaired motorists in California are rising every year, the California Highway Patrol has warned local residents earlier this week that weed legalization is expected to put even more marijuana-impaired drivers on the streets of Los Angeles, Riverside, and other cities.
Despite the continued legislative push to legalize marijuana in all states across the nation – with 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia already on board – health experts warn of the increased risk of weed-impaired motorists causing car accidents.
How does marijuana affect driving?
Studies have shown the effect weed has on motorists. And turns out, smoking marijuana puts drivers at a greater risk of causing a car accident, as weed decreases focus and slows down reaction time.
These two conditions are directly linked to traffic collisions, our Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg warn.
In fact, smoking marijuana affects driving almost the same way consuming alcohol does. Slow reaction time can result in fatal car crashes on the streets of Los Angeles.
That means by legalizing weed in 2018, residents of Los Angeles and other cities across California who voted in favor of marijuana legalization made the streets of California even more dangerous to car drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.
Our best car accident attorneys in Los Angeles explain that marijuana-impaired motorists are more likely to fail to react properly and in a timely manner to certain traffic maneuvers, not to mention that pot smokers have trouble focusing on the road when driving.
Meaning: weed-impaired drivers will more likely not notice a pedestrian in the crosswalk, and brake too late after a car driving in front stops abruptly.
What if you get into a car accident involving a weed-impaired driver?
Given that marijuana has become legally available for sale in California just a few days ago, litigating car accidents involving weed-impaired motorists may be difficult if you’re not legally represented by an experienced attorney.
Laws regulating the use of cannabis are changing constantly – with California lawmakers considering putting a THC limit on pot-smoking drivers – which is why it’s highly recommended to consult a car accident attorney to spell out all legal options available in your particular case.