High percentage of young adults who frequently smoke pot drive while under drug’s influence: B.C. study

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WATCH: A major BC study of young adults who use marijuana reveals some startling statistics about their risky behaviour behind the wheel. Grace Ke reports – Apr 5, 2017

A new study from researchers at the University of Victoria reveals some sobering numbers when it comes to driving and smoking pot.

“We really need to think about how we tell young people about what the risks are, how we help them make choices about marijuana use and reducing the harms related to marijuana use,” Bonnie Leadbeater, the study’s lead author, said.

READ MORE: CAA says Canadians ‘very concerned’ about road safety and marijuana legalization

When it comes to young people who use marijuana more than once a week, 80 per cent of males and 75 per cent of females said they had been in a car where the driver (which could have been themselves) had used marijuana in the last 30 days.

Sixty-four per cent of males and 33 per cent of females “reported that they were ‘intoxicated’ with marijuana while operating a vehicle,” the study found.

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READ MORE: Study shows young people not as concerned with driving high as drunk driving

Those numbers could rise as they have south of the border with the legalization of marijuana in some U.S. states. Sales started in Washington state in the summer of 2014.

In 2014, that state had more driving fatalities due to drugs than alcohol for the first time ever.

Leadbeater believes that if the federal government goes ahead with plans to legalize marijuana, it must also invest in public education.

“Youth 15 to 25 are the highest users of marijuana. These people are also learning to drive, they’re inexperienced. They’re really in a very salient and fundamental part of their lives that’s going to affect their whole lives.”

– With files from Grace Ke

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