“The Problems Opponents Said Legal Marijuana Would Cause Never Happened:”
Marijuana arrests have dropped in Washington; According to a new report, youth use rates and traffic fatalities have remained stable:
Marijuana has been legalized in Washington, D.C. and four other States for recreational use. Furthermore the report finds that things are looking pretty good so far. Consequently, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. Opponents of the measures warned that ending the longstanding prohibition on marijuana for recreational use would wreak havoc on society. The opponents said Marijuana for recreational use wouldn’t be worthwhile. Furthermore, they claimed more children would end up using the drug and get high behind the wheel. Fiscal benefits associated with taxed and regulated marijuana wouldn’t be worth it, “they said”.
Good News for The Drug Policy Alliance
According to a new report by the drug policy alliance, those dire predictions haven’t come true. The drug policy alliance is a nonprofit that lobbies for progressive reform of drug laws. In fact, legalization for recreational use has had a negligible effect on rates of youth marijuana use and traffic fatalities. Most noteworthy, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. have approved marijuana for recreational use. Consequently, marijuana arrests for recreational use have plummeted and total revenue from legal weed has surged past $500 million.
Banning Marijuana for Recreational Use Does Not Work:
In the case of legalization, the report shows that a lot of those fears did not come to fruition. As a result, prohibition has not worked banning marijuana for recreational use. Most noteworthy, States need a new solution to go forward with and States like Washington are a good example. In Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, the report looked at drug use surveys of high school students. Finally, the report shows that marijuana for recreational use among youth has remained stable after legalization.
Traffic Accidents Have Gone Down Since Legalization:
Marijuana legalization for recreational use has made no discernible mark on traffic fatalities in Colorado and Washington. The report finds total arrests for impaired driving have declined in those States. In recent years Washington drivers involved in fatal crashes have tested positive for the psychoactive compound THC. The report noted the THC levels while using marijuana for recreational use. Furthermore, links between impairment and THC levels in a driver’s system have not been fully established. Therefore, because a driver has THC in their system doesn’t mean they were impaired. Furthermore, the report says this increase is due to enhanced reporting and testing standards. These standards for recreational use of marijuana need change.
A Good Financial Outcome:
As a result, the report finds marijuana legalization has had a significant, positive financial effect. Consequently, there are no small time medical recreational marijuana cases. Therefore, much of this is due to savings to police and the criminal justice system. Colorado and Washington are seeing great results after legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Hence, in Colorado cops made 46 percent fewer marijuana arrests between 2012 and 2014. Most noteworthy, Washington saw a 98 percent reduction in the total number of low-level marijuana court filings. A report stated, Court filings fell from 6,879 in 2011 to only 120 in 2013. In Washington, D.C., arrests for marijuana for recreational use fell 85 percent from 2014 to 2015. While arrests for possession alone fell by 98 percent in the same period, to just 32 in 2015.
Arrests Have declined Since Legalization:
Marijuana arrests have also decreased considerably in the past few years in Oregon and Alaska. Especially relevant, there are still no stores that sell marijuana for recreational use in those 2 States. States are saving hundreds of millions of dollars cutting down on marijuana arrests. In conclusion, marijuana possession is not a crime anymore. Although the report said arrests have been scaled back, persistent racial disparities with Blacks and Latinos exist. Most of all, Blacks and Latinos are still more likely to be arrested for marijuana crimes than whites.
Marijuana Legalization Has Generated Financial Windfalls:
Taxed and regulated, marijuana generated substantial financial windfalls for Colorado and Washington. Both Colorado and Washington exceeded sales projections last year, bringing in $129 million and $220 million, respectively. In Colorado and Washington retail sales of marijuana have only been going on since 2014. Legalization measures in Alaska, Oregon and D.C. went into place last year. In conclusion the total impact of legalization could take years to get a clearer picture.
Hence, Recreational Marijuana legalization is still in its beginning stages.
At the state level the DPA report adds to a growing body of research on the impact of marijuana legalization. This includes a recent report by the Cato Institute. While the Cato report found no convincing connection between weed prohibition and crime, political interests do not help.
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