Many folks have serious concerns and reservations when it comes to marijuana being legalized. Despite significant evidence that cannabis is one of the least harmful psychoactive substances and has a great number of positive medicinal applications, marijuana still carries a negative stigma from its long and complicated history here in the states. However with successful legalization efforts in states like Colorado and California in the last few years, we now have a much more accurate view on how cannabis legalization has affected these communities.
One of the most prominent fears for many people when it comes to marijuana legalization is that it will create a spike in drug addiction wherever it’s allowed. However, the opposite appears to be true with legalization often leading to lower use by teens and a decrease in opioid addiction. Looking at data compiled from 2015-2016 by the National Survey of Drug Use & Health, while cannabis use did increase in states like Washington, the increase was primarily due to adults who were now legally able to buy weed for the first time.
Another concern for legalization opponents is that cannabis use will cause a sharp increase in the number of DUI’s and related automobile accidents. This mistaken belief also goes hand-in-hand with the erroneous notion that today’s marijuana is so much stronger than before, completely impairing your ability to function in ways similar to alcohol intoxication. However both of the views are seemingly incorrect as data from Colorado and Washington shows that the number of DUI cases have either remained the same or even decreased post legalization. In today’s legal weed industry, while cannabis is typically stronger than in the past, its potency has not increased to a point where it is actually dangerous and debilitating.
Vocal opponents to legalization will also often cite their fear that allowing for the legal sale of marijuana will have a significant negative monetary impact on the communities where it is lawfully allowed. Fearing that the social costs of legalizing weed in their area would far outweigh any tax revenue that legalization would bring in. This couldn’t be further from the truth as it has been shown that the tax revenue generated from legal sales is generating many millions of dollars for local communities with a significant portion of those earnings going right back to further improve the local infrastructure.
Unfortunately, some of the above concerns will likely still be parroted by those folks that are against legalizing cannabis for one reason or another. However when one considers how marijuana use is becoming more and more mainstream and with results from recent polls showing that over two thirds of Americans are in support of legalizing marijuana, we fully expect that the myths and the misinformation that have surrounded marijuana use will soon be a thing of the past. The best thing for cannabis proponents to do is try and educate their fellows about the true effects of legalizing marijuana, which are changes that are for the most part overwhelmingly positive. Have you found that legalized cannabis has positively impacted your local community?