As a nation and a society, we are just beginning to understand the real effects of legalized marijuana. The drug has been prevalent in the country for decades but its use has been mainly under the radar of the public mainstream. With more and more states legalizing marijuana for recreational use and medicinal use more data on what happens in a community when the drug is legalized is becoming available.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute have released findings they've done in regards to the effects of legalized pot and driving. The study was done in Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington where pot is legal. The findings indicate a correlation between the legal weed and an increase in traffic accidents.

The study indicated there was a 6% increase in the number of crashes following the start of retail marijuana sales in each of the states where the study was done. Obviously, as more and more states consider legalizing marijuana for recreation and medicinal use there could be an increase in auto insurance rates, especially if the trend of more crashes continues to be documented.

As of now, Louisiana has only legalized medicinal marijuana and most pundits agree that our state is still several years away from seriously considering legalizing weed for recreational use. You can bet the threat of higher insurance rates will be one of the weapons opponent used in the campaign to keep marijuana tightly controlled.