Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Could NJ Car Insurance Rates Go Up Because Of Legal Marijuana?

NJ car Insurance rates may not be rising yet in anticipation of legalized cannabis in the Garden State, but the idea is already out there, waiting to be implemented.

Governor elect Phil Murphy has promised to legalize cannabis in New Jersey within his first 100 days in office and sources say that the bill is at the ready to be signed. The thought of legal weed in Jersey has some lawmakers nervous, and drugged driving tops the list of their anxieties.

Joe Pennacchio (R) said in a statement that, “The reality is that legalizing weed won’t solve New Jersey’s affordability crisis, especially when you consider how much money we are going to have to spend just to make sure law enforcement officials have the resources to handle a massive increase in drugged driving.”

There are a couple things to take issue with in that statement. First of all, cannabis revenue may not solve the affordability crisis completely, but it will go a long way into putting a good sized dent in it. Secondly, let’s be honest. Legalizing weed isn’t going to drastically change people’s habits. If they drove stoned before, legal or not, they’re likely to continue doing so. Just like the majority of those who imbibe will either chill where they are or call some sort of car service.

In light of concerns, there have been calls for hearings to help lawmakers really understand the inner workings of a legal state. What does it mean? Does it mean unsafe roads? There has been an infinitesimal increase in drugged driving in already legalized states, but none of them are reconsidering because of it.

One thing legalization does mean is that the racial disparity in arrest rates for simple possession will go down and also that, whether it seems enough or not, taxes and revenues from cannabis will help the local infrastructures and economy. Legalization will create jobs, open up a new market and open the door to a diverse group of entrepreneurs.

The Colorado Department of Transportation has a list of guidelines for their state on driving while impaired. The basic gist? Don’t do it. The penalties are the same as drunk driving and refusing to take a blood test in Colorado revokes driving privileges.

Having rules in place isn’t a bad thing. Hindering a legalization law over the jitters that those rules may not be followed is a crime. Raising insurance rates? Well, let’s get the law implemented first and see from there. As long as we imbibe responsibly, everybody wins.


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