The debate continues and heats on the pros and cons of states legalizing RMJ production, sales, and use. In these pages we have covered the progress of attitudes about MMJ and RMJ in Nevada County. The debaters often cite the experience of other states that have also gone through various forms of MJ legalization – the presented data is often incoherent and at odds.
To get a better understanding of what really has been the impact of MJ where it has been legalized, the Cato Institute has just completed a major report in their respected policy analysis series titled ‘Dose of Reality: The Effect of State Legalization of Marijuana’. This is an extensive effort with lots of facts, data, graphs, etc. Readers interested in MJ and the upcoming California vote on Prop 64 (more here) should definitely become familiar with the facts.
In this policy analysis Cato “assesses recent marijuana legalizations and related policies in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.” The authors close with –
Our conclusion is that state marijuana legalizations have had minimal effect on marijuana use and related outcomes. We cannot rule out small effects of legalization, and insufficient time has elapsed since the four initial legalizations to allow strong inference. On the basis of available data, however, we find little support for the stronger claims made by either opponents or advocates of legalization. The absence of significant adverse consequences is especially striking given the sometimes dire predictions made by legalization opponents.