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Two new studies differ over effects of marijuana on drivers

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Two U.S. studies on the effects of marijuana on drivers in states where it is allowed for recreational use came to different conclusions about whether it increases risks behind the wheel.

A study by the American Journal of Public Health published on Thursday looked at motor vehicle fatalities and found no significant increase in Colorado and Washington State, where recreational marijuana use is legal, compared with eight states where it is not legal that have similar populations, vehicle ownership, and traffic laws. Alabama, Kentucky and Texas were among the states in the comparison group.

“Our study focused on deaths and actually found what we expected going into this,” Jason Adedoyte, lead author of the study said in a telephone interview. Adedoyte is a trauma surgeon at Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Back in 2012 some argued that people would ride around in their cars crash and die. Our study proved that isn’t true,” he said.

The American Journal of Public Health examined data from 2009 to 2015 taken from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

In another study published on Wednesday, the Highway Loss Data Institute analyzed the frequency of car insurance collision claims in Washington, Colorado and Oregon, where recreational marijuana is also permitted.

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It found a 3 percent increase in collision claims in those states compared with Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada, where it is not legal.

“In states that passed legislation approving the recreational use of marijuana, the data showed that there was a strong indicator that marijuana was a factor in considering the rise of claims,” Matt Moore, senior vice president of The Highway Loss Data Institute, said in a telephone interview.

The Institute examined about 2.5 million insurance collision claims from January 2012 and October 2016.

Mason Tvert, communication director of the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-legalization group, questioned the methodology of the Institute’s study.

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“There’s no clear evidence that marijuana is a factor. It’s going to take several years and studies before we can determine that,” he said in a telephone interview.

The Institute’s Moore defended its approach, saying, “We looked at the correlation of states with similar insurance claim frequencies, and the states we chose had the highest correlation.”

Federal law prohibits recreational use of marijuana in the country, however, it has been approved by eight states including Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, California, Nevada and the District of Columbia.

(Reporting by Taylor T. Harris in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Here are 4 ways unrestrained crony capitalism is making Americans’ lives miserable

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Although Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, both running for president in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, have similar economic views, they part company when it comes to the use of the words “socialism” and “capitalism.” Sanders describes himself as a “democratic socialist,” while Warren has declared, “I’m a capitalist to my bones.” But truth be told, Sanders and Warren are both disciples of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society — and both of them are campaigning on the fact that unrestrained crony capitalism has been a source of misery for the American working class.

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Rep. Ted Lieu asks special counsel to bring the hammer down on Jared Kushner for Hatch Act violations

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Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) have asked the Office of Special Counsel to open an investigation into Jared Kushner for alleged violations of the Hatch Act.

According to the congressmen, Kushner violated the law by "engaging in prohibited campaign fundraising activities."

Reports have suggested that Kushner has used his official role in the White House to aid President Donald Trump's reelection effort.

NEW: @RepDonBeyer & @RepTedLieu ask Office of Special Counsel to investigate whether WH senior advisor Jared Kushner has violated Hatch Act by “engaging in prohibited campaign fundraising activities,” citing news reports Kushner used his official office to aid Trump's campaign.

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Heiress and designer, Gloria Vanderbilt dies at 95

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American heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, a designer and artist who became one of the most chronicled socialites of her era, died Monday, her son announced. She was 95 years old.

The great-great granddaughter of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, she was thrust into the spotlight as the "poor little rich girl" at the center of a sensational custody battle in the 1930s, before finding fame in her own right for her line of designer blue jeans and it-girl fashion.

"Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms," her son, the popular CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, said in a tribute read on air.

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