Marijuana legalization was once an outlier topic and even a taboo discussion item in states across the nation. When the subject did come up, naysayers often laced debate with harsh rhetoric citing perceived risks across a broad front.
Critics claimed that stoned drivers would spark a surge of fatal auto accidents. Domestic violence acts would spike. Juveniles would somehow gain greater access to cannabis and suffer outsized harm from illicit use. Crime in general would go up, with attendant adverse effects on everything from a burgeoning prison population to rising taxpayer outlays.
And then came empirical evidence from Colorado’s vanguard entry among American states into the realm of legalized marijuana. The state’s policies and measured outcomes over the past several years have provided lawmakers and regulators nationally with reams of data germane to pot legalization.
The results have been anything but alarming and with end-of-the-world implications. A principal with one nonprofit group that researches marijuana policy notes they have in fact underscored that “marijuana legalization is a proven policy.”
That view is both galvanized and national these days, with confirming evidence being strongly on display in the wake of Election Day results earlier this month.
To wit: Vote outcomes on legalization ballot measures spotlight five new states that have now joined Colorado and a host of others in approving recreational cannabis initiatives.
Pro-legalization has clear and obvious momentum, and on a bipartisan basis. A law professor who studies the topic stresses that the growing tide of support for reform “indicates that people are frustrated with the outdated drug policies from the 1970s.”
Reportedly, Colorado’s tax intake last year was materially enhanced by legalized marijuana sales of more than $1 billion.