Beginning next month, Massachusetts will adopt a curriculum designed to educate teens on the risks of driving while under the influence of cannabis.
Under the program, as of Jan. 1, Massachusetts will become the first state that has legalized the recreational use of marijuana to adopt the curriculum designed by AAA Northeast, according to the state Registry of Motor Vehicles.
The current driver education curriculum addressing impaired driving will be updated to include information on cannabis, such as how tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the active chemical in marijuana — affects cognition, vision, reaction time, and perception of time and distance.
The new curriculum is targeted at the first generation of driver education students to be licensed since recreational cannabis became legal in Massachusetts.
The curriculum is taught in part through a 25-minute video developed by AAA Northeast. It will be taught to approximately 50,000 young drivers each year in more than 460 driving school locations.
The state’s voters legalized the use of recreational marijuana by adults 21 and older in 2016.
Massachusetts drivers’ education is managed by the RMV and requires all first-time drivers younger than 18 to complete 30 hours of classroom instruction, 12 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and six hours of observation while another student is taking behind-the-wheel instruction.
As of November 9, 2022, 21 states and the District of Columbia have enacted measures to regulate cannabis for nonmedical adult use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
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