What Are the Real Effects of Legalizing Weed?

23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized or decriminalized Marijuana 2 States, Washington and Colorado, have made it legal for recreational use, which is the ultimate goal for groups trying to fully legalize weed

Colorado did this more than 8 months ago, and the numbers are in so we can finally look at some of the effects of legalizing weed First off, let’s look at the givens Legalizing weed adds tax revenue; That’s obvious Colorado expects a $98 million dollars jump in tax revenue from weed sales this year alone Legalizing weed also adds jobs

It’s estimated by the Marijuana Industry Group that about 10,000 people now work in the weed industry in Colorado, nearly 2,000 of which started in the first half of this year Most were already working in Colorado’s medical marijuana industry prior to 2014 And the weed industry only accounts for about 04 percent of Colorado’s workforce So, those numbers shouldn’t be overblown, but sales are good and further job growth is expected

Those are the things that we know for sure They have a direct causal relationship to the change in the law But there are also things that we can’t directly tie to law These have a corollary relationship, but are still worth mentioning as they may allay some fears Anti-legalization groups feared that legalizing recreational weed would lead to an increase in driving fatalities

There is no direct evidence of that In fact, the number of driving fatalities were down in the first half of 2014 They also feared that there would be an increase in hard drug use Again, people are actually using less hard drugs now than they were ten years ago They feared that more high school aged kids would be smoking weed

Again: no And they feared that there would be a spike in violent crime and crime in general There hasn’t been The crime rate is actually trending down So, does that mean that weed makes our highways, high schools and streets safer? No

Like I said, there is no direct connection between legalizing recreational marijuana and any of these statistics We can’t prove causation, but we can show that since weed became legal, things have not gotten worse So, are there any proven negatives to come out of these first 8 months? Yes, sort of Not really There is some anecdotal evidence that the general public isn’t quite ready for edible marijuana

One man ate edible marijuana and then shot his wife Another man ate edible marijuana and then fell off of a balcony The police think that marijuana played a role in both incidents And the number of children who have been admitted to Children’s Hospital of Colorado in Aurora due to consumption of marijuana in the first sixth months of the year is already more than all of last year Again, this evidence is largely anecdotal, but it has been enough for the state to start looking at its THC limits and labeling requirements for edible goods

On the whole, the experiment appears to be a success, but we won’t know for sure until it has been in practice for many more years

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