Will you trade legalized marijuana for higher car insurance?
Here's a question. Would you be willing to accept higher car insurance rates in exchange for legalized marijuana in New Jersey? It's going to happen according to experts.
The Insurance Information Institute looked at states where marijuana was legalized, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, and found the program resulted in a collision claims rate 3 percent higher than expected. James Lynch, the institute's chief actuary, to New Jersey 101.5, "If it were to happen in New Jersey the way that it's happened in these states - and I can't see any reason why it would be different - it could actually be a lot worse because we have more cars per square mile." In other words, where crash rates go insurance rates are sure to follow. Read more about this here.
Independent of this bad news coming out, there are more legislators becoming vocal about their apprehension for such a legalization program. It started with Vincent Prieto losing his position as speaker and new state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin took a 'not so fast' approach to the whole affair. He expressed concerns and the desire for more debate. When Governor-elect Phil Murphy says he wants to legalize marijuana in his first 100 days in office that could be a problem. Other lawmakers are now speaking out as well. The latest is State Sen. Ron Rice. He's planning on throwing his weight around as chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus and call for hearing to look into negative consequences in states where marijuana was legalized. In a statement Rice said, "We know there are negative factors that we will need to safeguard against, from children's access to marijuana-infused edibles to motor vehicle accidents caused by impaired driving to the effect of marijuana on babies and the impact of legalization on communities of color."
So back to the vehicle accidents. Is a potential hike in Jersey auto insurance enough to turn many off to the idea? Here's some interesting math. Phil Murphy projects a tax gain for state coffers of $300 million in marijuana taxation. But if New Jersey's average car insurance is $1,375 and there are (according to U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration) over 3,900,000 private and commercial automobiles registered to New Jersey, even a 1 percent rate hike would mean a collective $50 million. And that doesn't even include buses and trucks, just automobiles.
So is it all worth it? You tell us. Take our poll and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.
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