Findings from the Illinois 2023 Annual Cannabis Report show a correlation between marijuana legalization in Illinois and a spike in fatal car crashes, pediatric poisonings, and use of marijuana by pregnant women.
Fatal Car Crashes:
In 2020, there were more significant increases in positive cannabis drug tests among drivers involved in fatal traffic accidents in Illinois when compared to other nearby states and the United States1.
Between 2021 and 2022, there was a notable rise in the incidents of youth aged 12 to 17 years old contacting the Illinois Poison Control Center due to cannabis ingestion1. Edible cannabis products were responsible for the majority (54.3%) of reported cases of cannabis poisonings in the 12 to 17-year-old age group, whereas older age groups had a more even distribution between dried cannabis plant-based products and edibles1.
Marijuana Use Among Pregnant Women:
From 2017–2018 to 2019–2020, there was a 6.3% rise in the occurrence of past-month cannabis use among expectant mothers in Illinois1. Such statistics are alarming considering recent studies have shown that exposure to maternal prenatal cannabis was linked to a higher likelihood of preterm birth1.
The Call to Action:
Government organizations and the public must consider the harms of the legalization of marijuana. Although this study focuses specifically on the state of Illinois, several states are experiencing the same harms related to the legalization of marijuana. It is imperative to maintain vigilant oversight over the ongoing consequences of marijuana legalization across the nation. Increased education and awareness of the harms of marijuana must be at the forefront of policymakers’ decisions regarding legalization.
To learn more about the harms of marijuana, visit
To learn more about the harms of pregnant women using marijuana, visit:
To learn more about the harms of marijuana-impaired driving, visit: