The imposition of laws legalizing and regulating the adult use, production and retail sale of cannabis in four states has “had minimal effect on marijuana use,” according to an analysis by the CATO Institute – Washington, D.C.’s free-market leaning think-tank. “The absence of significant adverse consequences is especially striking given the sometimes dire predictions made by legalization opponents.”
Researchers from Harvard University and Western Carolina University assessed the impact of marijuana legalization laws in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington on a variety of health and safety outcomes, including drug use, suicide rates, substance abuse treatment admissions, crime rates and road safety.
By contrast, the authors determined that legal changes have had a significant impact on generating new streams of state tax revenue. “One area where legal marijuana has reaped unexpectedly large benefits is state tax revenue,” they concluded, adding that in some jurisdictions “these figures are above some pre-legalization forecasts.”
The full text of the report, “Dose of Reality: The Effect of State Marijuana Legalizations,” is available here.
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