The legitimization of the cannabis industry has not brought about a wicked apocalypse, as many naysayers of legalization predicted it would, according to a new report from the folks at the Drug Policy Alliance.
It has been three years since Colorado and Washington officially launched their respective marijuana markets, and “so far” all of the hellish forecasts that opponents of legalization suggested were on the horizon have yet to rear their ugly heads. The report suggests that while it is “too early to draw any line-in-the-sand conclusion about the effects of marijuana legalization,” all of the evidence, at this point, shows that legal weed is working.
“Marijuana prohibition has been a costly failure—to individuals, communities, and the entire country,” said Joy Haviland, staff attorney at the Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement accompanying the report. “States that have chosen to legalize marijuana under state law should be praised for developing a smarter, more responsible approach to marijuana.”
The report finds that marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington has not led to an increase in traffic fatalities, and has not caused an uptick in marijuana consumption among teenagers.
What’s more is police officers in those states are making fewer marijuana-related arrests – allowing more resources to be put toward cases involving violent crime.
“By no longer arresting and prosecuting possession and other low-level marijuana offenses, states are saving hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of adults are no longer getting stopped, arrested, charged, or convicted for the unlawful possession of marijuana,” the report reads.
In addition, the DPA finds that taxed and regulated cannabis markets in Colorado and Washington have shown just how finically beneficial ending prohibition can be for a state’s economy. In 2015, both states raked in $129 million and $220 million, respectively.
Next month, five more states – Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada -- will look to voters on whether to legalize marijuana in a manner similar to Colorado and Washington.
A new Pew Research poll released this week finds that 57 percent of the American population would like to see marijuana legalized all over the nation similar to beer.
Unfortunately, Congress has yet to represent the voice of the people.