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Marijuana Regulation: Impact on Health, Safety, Economy

The enactment of adult use cannabis regulation is not associated with upticks in marijuana use by adolescents

  • "Certainly the worst things that we had great fear about (the legalization of marijuana for adults in Colorado) – spikes in consumption, kids, people driving while high – we haven't seen any of that. We saw a little increase in teenagers and that came down within a couple years. ... We were very worried that by legalizing, we were making this more somehow more psychologically available to kids. We haven't seen that. If anything, we've seen less drug dealers.”
  • "I think the concern was that by legalizing marijuana, we should certainly see an increase in adult use, and maybe that would leak into our youth. [There was also a concern that] youth would somehow gain greater access, and/or feel entitled to go ahead and use in greater numbers. We just haven't seen that pan out. ... It appears that teenagers make decisions to consume marijuana for reasons other than legalization—like they do with other risk behaviors."

The establishment of cannabis retailers is not associated with upticks in criminal activity

Neither medical use nor adult use legalization is associated with adverse effects on traffic safety

Marijuana regulation is not associated with adverse effects on workplace performance or safety

  • "There is no or insufficient evidence to support ... a statistical association between cannabis use and occupational accidents or injuries."
  • Reducing criminal penalties for marijuana offenses is associated with increased probability of employment, particularly for young males, and an average increase of 4.5 percent in weekly earnings. "This data provides suggestive evidence that marijuana decriminalization laws improve extrinsic labor market outcomes. ... This result is consistent with existing literature that suggests black adults, especially men, stand to benefit the most from removing these penalties."
    Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy Research Institute, Marijuana decriminalization and labor market outcomes, 2016

Marijuana regulation is associated with declining alcohol consumption

  • "We use data on purchases of alcoholic beverages in grocery, convenience, drug, or mass distribution stores in US counties for 2006-2015 to study the link between medical marijuana laws and alcohol consumption and focus on settling the debate between the substitutability or complementarity between marijuana and alcohol. ... We find that the legalization of medical marijuana reduces alcohol consumption. We find consistent evidence across different specifications and alcohol products (i.e. alcohol in general, beer and wine). States legalizing medical marijuana use experience significant decrease in the aggregate sales of alcohol, beer and wine. Moreover, the effects are not short lived, with significant reductions observed up to 24 months after the passage of the law."
  • "Research firm Cowen & Company analyzed the state of the beer industry in Colorado, Oregon and Washington—states where both recreational weed is legal and craft beer has become popular. In those states, beer markets have "collectively underperformed" over the last two years, trailing behind beer sales around the country."

Marijuana regulation is associated with increased tax revenue and job creation

  • "According to ZipRecruiter data, the total number of industry job posts increased by 445% in 2017. ... Our data also shows that the cannabis industry is growing more rapidly than some of today’s fastest-growing fields. Year over year growth of job posts in the cannabis industry is outpacing both tech (254% growth) and healthcare (70% growth). ... Not only does the legalization of cannabis create a safer and more stable market for medical and recreational users, but it also significantly drives job growth."
  • "As the first state to open recreational marijuana retail stores, Colorado provides a case study to examine the potential economic effects from legalization. Direct employment in the marijuana sector has risen robustly since the passage of Amendment 64, contributing about 5.4 percent of all employment growth in Colorado since January 2014. ... Similar to employment, tax collections from marijuana have also increased sharply in recent years, and are equal to about 2 percent of general fund revenues in the state."
  • "A half-year of legal cannabis is in Nevada's books and recreational sales exceeded an average of $1 million per day through the first six months. … the industry generated $30,376,795 in tax revenue for the state through the first six months. So far the state has reported $10.8 million through the wholesale tax and $19.5 million through retail tax."