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Cameron M Ellis  1 Martin F Grace  1 Rhet A Smith  2 Juan Zhang  3

PMID: 35691014 DOI: 10.1002/hec.4553


While many states have legalized medical cannabis, many unintended consequences remain under-studied. We focus on one potential detriment-the effect of cannabis legalization on automobile safety. We examine this relationship through auto insurance premiums. Employing a modern difference-in-differences framework and zip code-level premium data from 2014 to 2019, we find that premiums declined, on average, by $22 per year following medical cannabis legalization. The effect is more substantial in areas near a dispensary and in areas with a higher prevalence of drunk driving before legalization. We estimate that existing legalization has reduced health expenditures related to auto accidents by almost $820 million per year with the potential for a further $350 million reduction if legalized nationally.