Report: Marijuana Legalization Has Had “Minimal” Adverse Impact On Health

Washington, DC: The enactment of laws regulating the adult use, production, and retail sale of cannabis in four states has had negligible, if any, adverse impact on overall health and safety, according to an analysis commissioned by the CATO Institute – a Washington, DC think-tank.

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.

Authors concluded: “[S]tate marijuana legalization [laws] have had minimal effect on marijuana use and related outcomes. The absence of significant adverse consequences is especially striking given the sometimes dire predictions made by legalization opponents.”

By contrast, 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,” researchers concluded. In some jurisdictions “these figures are above some pre-legalization forecasts.”

Full text of the report, “Dose of Reality: The Effect of State Marijuana Legalizations,” is available online.