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AAA to motorists: Don’t use pot and drive

Now that New York state has legalized recreational cannabis, AAA of Western New York says residents should be careful when they smoke or eat it, especially when they intend to get behind the wheel. 

Under the new law, it is legal for anyone 21 and older to possess up to 3 ounces of the drug.

Since Washington state legalized recreational pot in 2012, AAA’s Tony Spada Jr. said, there’s been an alarming trend: More drivers involved in fatal car crashes have pot in their systems.

During a panel discussion Wednesday, Spada said his group’s stance is clear.

“Just like alcohol, if you’ve used marijuana, don’t drive. And if you plan to drive, don’t use marijuana,” Spada said. “Whether you smoke, vape, take edibles -- getting behind the wheel when you are under the influence poses a risk to everyone on the road.”

He also said research from AAA’s Traffic Safety Foundation said that people who use cannabis and alcohol at the same time are “some of the most dangerous drivers on the road.” He said they are significantly more likely to speed, run through stop signs, text while driving or run red lights on purpose.

New York is the 16th state to legalize recreational pot.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.