MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota is in a heated debate over whether to legalize marijuana.
Critics say huge questions remain like: Will legal pot mean more traffic crashes?
Here’s what we know: Drunk driving is already among the state’s most dangerous public safety problems, and last year, 380 people died on Minnesota roads — 121 of them in alcohol-related crashes.
So, what happens if Minnesota adds marijuana to the mix?
Critics say drugged driving could mean more crashes and death.
Is that true? The short answer is yes — and no.
The traffic data coming in from states with legal pot is mixed. An insurance industry report says crash claims rose 3 percent in Colorado, Washington and Oregon after they legalized pot.
Colorado reports the number of stoned drivers is up sharply, but a three-year public health study found there was no statistical difference in traffic deaths in marijuana states.
But that does not mean there is no cause for concern.
Colorado has a 5 nanogram THC legal limit for driving high. The state is training officers to spot impaired pot drivers, but there’s no reliable roadside test — yet.
Data from 10 states with legal pot show many drunk drivers are also high.
But more research is needed to say for sure if the roads are more dangerous.