Status Report: The Impact Of Adult Use Regulatory Schemes

The legalization and regulation of marijuana for adults is associated with a drastic reduction in overall arrests, increased tax revenue, and is not adversely impacting public health or safety, according to a comprehensive report issued by the Drug Policy Alliance.

Among the report’s highlights:

Marijuana arrests are down. Arrests for marijuana in all legal marijuana states and Washington, D.C. have plummeted, saving states hundreds of millions of dollars and sparing thousands of people from being branded with lifelong criminal records.

Youth marijuana use is stable. Youth marijuana use rates have remained stable in states that have legalized marijuana for adults age 21 and older.

Marijuana legalization is linked to lower rates of opioid-related harm. Increased access to legal marijuana has been associated with reductions in some of the most troubling harms associated with opioids, including opioid overdose deaths and untreated opioid use disorders.

Calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency departments for marijuana exposure remain relatively uncommon.

Legalization has not made the roads less safe. DUI arrests are down in Colorado and Washington. The total number of arrests for driving under the influence, of alcohol and other drugs, has declined in Colorado and Washington, the first two states to regulate marijuana for adult use. There is no correlation between marijuana legalization and crash rates. The crash rates in both states are statistically similar to comparable states without legal marijuana laws.

Marijuana tax revenues are exceeding initial estimates.

The marijuana industry is creating jobs. Preliminary estimates suggest that the legal marijuana industry employs between 165,000 to 230,000 full and part-time workers across the country.

The full DPA report is available online here. Their findings are similar to prior reviews of the impact of adult use regulatory schemes on health and safety, such as this 2016 CATO Institute report.

NORML has similarly compiled fact-sheets of the most relevant peer-reviewed data addressing the impact of legalization on health, safety, and the economy here.

15 thoughts

  1. Important documentation, no doubt; and more evidence of the fact that the real menace to society is not marijuana, but rather, marijuana prohibition.

  2. Great facts, thanks, NORML, Paul (of NORML, lol). And for the links. Spread the truth, despel the real haze which is Reefer Madness. The only people who are dazed and confused and have been for so long are those who believe in Prohibition. Feel the power!

  3. thank you for all the good you do, NORML. i have not always done all that i can for the principle of legalization of marijuana though it is the biggest factor in my success in my career or lack thereof. i will continue to try to find the petition to bring the issue to the council body here in Mliwaukee.

  4. All this at the same time a federally funded study shows decreased opioid overdose and suicides in states with legal marijuana dispensaries:

    Thus confirming the 2015 study from the Journal of the American Medical Association. This means we have a 6-year longitudinal study linking legal marijuana markets to %37 decreased opioid addiction and nearly %25 reduced overdose and suicide in states with legal marijuana dispensaries.

    And what can a Republican Congress do?

    Block another marijuana amendment. Pete Sessions, House Chair of the powerful Rules Committee and the diabolical Keebler cousin of Evil, Jeff Sessions, said,

    “Marijuana is an addictive product, and the merchants of addiction make it that way,” committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) said during the previous amendment’s consideration. “They make it for addiction. They make it to where our people, our young people, become addicted to marijuana and keep going.”

    Hey GOP; Hear that? It’s the sound of birds seeking the safety of inland shore and the silence of the beach waves as the vast ocean suddenly retreats… The big Blue and Green wave is coming. Just in time for a court ordered suboeona too! How convenient.

  5. Outdated laws trying to be pushed by one. Many rejecting it. Of course crime will come down, costing less on the tax payer paying for these people to go to jail.

    Our wait is soon over I believe, but we need to continue to educate people on why we are pushing that way.

    Gawds, too stoned to write much else. LOL.

  6. Since 2012, I have been involved in the legal cannabis movement in Florida; first as a MEDICAL MARIJUANA Volunteer Coordinator, then with the FLORIDIANS FOR FREEDOM, to establish groups in different towns, cities and counties while conducting public meetings and collecting signed petitions from voters.

    FLORIDIANS FOR FREEDOM, (FFF) is a statewide volunteer group of Florida citizens who began in 2015 to collect signed constitutional amendment petition, the RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS [Initiative Serial Number 15-20] for registered state voters to sign, in order to bring this issue to the ballot box, in our 2020 elections.

    This new law provides the right of adults in Florida over the age of twenty-one to possess, use and grow your own cannabis, for private use on private property in January of 2021.

    Our current community outreach includes various groups and organizations that might be supportive of fully legal cannabis, like the Florida AFL-CIO unions as well as the ACLU, the AARP, the NAACP, a number of Veteran’s groups, and more.

    Florida voters can use the ballot initiative petition process to bypass paid politicians who ignore the needs and wishes of the voters. It is time for a change, and we have the power through our individual votes, collectively cast and counted, to make the necessary changes we must; one being an end to the federal prohibition of “marijuana” and voters passing laws, state by state, to fully legalize cannabis by majority voter of the people.

    Floridians For Freedom can be found on the internet at where you can find, print out and sign a petition. Send it in to the office address on the petition form, or contact your local county FFF group on FACEBOOK for pick-up and delivery of signed petitions.

    (Name of county, followed by Floridians For Freedom). For instance, Alachua Floridians For Freedom which is one of the three FFF Facebook sites I most often visit).

    Hope you join us soon!

  7. Are most of these stats really amazing by anyone on this site? We all know the dangers, and lack there of, of use.
    It seems like we have to continue educating the masses, because there are still so many folks lacking basic knowledge.
    On an unrelated note. I want to applaud NORML for staying on top of this fight for as long as they have. Simply surreal if you think about how many decades they have been at it.

  8. Education is the key for those unfamiliar with the effects of THC. It has been proven that marijuana is not addicting, and does not impair cognitive skills. It is used as a choice. Not addiction, however we could discuss cigarettes and alcohol on a whole nother level. Come on with legalization across the board.

Leave a Reply