Massachusetts becomes first state to incorporate marijuana education in driver’s ed

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Massachusetts becomes first state to incorporate marijuana education in driver’s ed

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Driver’s education in Massachusetts will now include an entire module on cognitive and physical impairments caused by marijuana use, the state’s Department of Transportation announced earlier this month.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced the change to the state’s driving school curriculum in a press release earlier this month. The program, “Shifting Gears: the Blunt Truth about Marijuana and Driving,” was developed by the American Automobile Association.

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With the new requirement, set to take effect in January, Massachusetts will be the first state where recreational marijuana use is legal to require driver’s education curriculum to cover the effects of cannabis use.

“Adding information about cannabis to the Massachusetts’s Registry’s driver education class is important for the safety and wellbeing of teens that are just learning to drive,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in the press release. “The new cannabis instruction will help individuals make informed decisions and I am pleased that Massachusetts is leading in including it in driver education.”

According to the press release, the curriculum will be taught to 50,000 student drivers every year and expands on existing instruction on marijuana and THC inhibition.

“Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety sheds light on the fact that in legalizing recreational marijuana, states face the consequential risk of increased cannabis-impaired driving,” AAA Northeast President and CEO John Galvin said in the press release. “As a countermeasure, AAA Northeast developed a curriculum to educate young drivers on how THC impacts driving abilities. We are happy to share this curriculum with the Commonwealth to ensure every new driver licensed in Massachusetts will be equipped with the facts.”

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Recreational marijuana for people 21 and older was legalized in Massachusetts following a 2016 ballot referendum.

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