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Pedestrian fatalities up in states with legal marijuana, study says


A report released Wednesday reveals the number of people being hit and killed by cars is on the rise, specifically in states where it’s now legal to sell marijuana.

In the past several years, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has been aggressively targeting the number of pedestrian strikes in the city.

The initiatives seem to be working; the number of people involved in hits is down slightly, but new numbers just out seem to undo that trend.

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In the seven states that have legalized recreational marijuana, pedestrian fatalities went up more than 16 percent in the first six months of 2017, versus the same time period in 2016.

That’s in direct opposition to all other states, which, collectively, saw about a 6 percent decrease in pedestrian fatalities in that same time.

The study was performed by the Governor's Highway Safety Association.

They said what they found is cause for concern.

Of course, there are many factors that come into play when a pedestrian is hit, including time of day and walkers being distracted by cellphones.

But MassDOT has been investigating a lot of money in initiatives to protect pedestrians. Media campaigns, grants and programs have all been focused on safety.

And the GHSA said the connection in fatalities with the legalization of recreational marijuana is worth another look, even as Massachusetts approaches sanctioning the sale of pot in July.


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