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Medicinal marijuana and driving

Like many other states, Florida allows people to legally smoke marijuana for valid medical reasons, so long as they follow the proper procedures under Florida law. Many people argue that the drug helps people deal with physical pain and other ailments.

No matter how one feels about society's growing acceptance of marijuana, there are certain considerations that must be given when it comes to traffic safety.

For instance, one recent study of driving behaviors in one state discovered that many of those who use medical marijuana also admitted to driving under the influence of the drug. Of those surveyed, about 20 percent admitted to being what they called very high on the drug while driving, while over half admitted to being slightly under the influence of the drug.

Perhaps the most telling statistic was that 56 percent of those surveyed said that they had driven within a couple of hours of ingesting the drug. The recommendation is that if a person uses marijuana, he or she should not attempt to drive for the rest of the day.

The reason that it is important to think about this is that, like alcohol and other drugs, marijuana can affect a person's judgement and coordination, both of which are important skills to have in order to avoid car accidents.

Someone who is truly under the influence of marijuana, even if they have authorization to use the drug, runs the risk of hurting either themselves or others if they choose to drive, just as would be the case if someone had too much to drink or was taking a potent prescription painkiller or other medication. In such cases, a driver can be held responsible for civil negligence should they injure or kill someone in an accident.

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