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Legalization of recreational marijuana raises concerns over cannabis-impaired drivers

MIAMI COUNTY — With Issue 2 passing this week, people can start legally smoking marijuana next month.

News Center 7′s Kayla McDermott looked into how many impaired driving crashes there have been in the state.

Across the state, there have been over 70,000 impaired crashes in the last five years, because of drugs and alcohol, or a combination.

Some worry this number will now go up.

>> RELATED: Ohio votes approve Issue 2, becomes 24th state to legalize recreational marijuana

“I don’t think it advances society, We have enough trouble with alcohol,” Tom Hardy of Oakwood said.

Hardy voted against Issue 2.

Partly because of the number of crashes we already have to deal with across the state.

“That’s the danger,” Hardy said.

When looking at the numbers from Ohio State Highway, half of crashes involving impaired drivers ended in death.

More than 112,000 arrests have been made in the last five years with 30 percent of them being repeat offenders.

“It is another substance to add to driving on our roads when we already have a problem,” Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said.

>> Issue 2: How the legalization of recreational marijuana could impact gun owners

Law enforcement is prepared to respond to more OVI crashes and to make more arrests once people can begin using marijuana recreationally.

“While speaking with sheriffs from other states the crash numbers are up so we will definitely see an impact,” Streck said.

Others who voted Yes on Issue 2 think it won’t be a problem.

“I don’t think there’s gonna be an uptick because that’s not what people are smoking marijuana and going out and partying ... they’re hanging out watching TV, playing video games,” Michael Pegg of Oakwood said.

Currently, there is no way to test how high a driver is like a breathalyzer would.

Under the new law, adults 21 and over may possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrate, and grow up to six plants at home.


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