The nationwide growth of legal marijuana continues, a movement that started in Colorado and Washington nearly ten years ago. As state after state legalizes marijuana and others explore the option, the data on the effects of legalization has come into a more refined focus.
A vast majority of the findings come from the Centennial state that helped lead the charge to a quantum shift in laws and a different look at a once-illegal drug. However, when legal marijuana was only a consideration, assertions from the opposition were made over the impact of legalization, specifically when it comes to criminal activity.
- Legalization will cause crime to skyrocket – The effect on crime rates has been minimal. The CATO Institute found that the number of violent crimes did not move the needle. Simply put, there were no significant increases or decreases.
- Dangerous and deadly DUI accidents will rise – Again, in the category of motor vehicle crashes, legal marijuana did not represent a significant change either way, according to high-profile economists.
- The cost of marijuana will plummet, incentivizing more to use the drug – Prices have remained stable. Other areas of the country saw a slight increase. States that legalized marijuana saw increases and decreases before the price stabilized at around $260 an ounce, only ten dollars more than a time when pot was illegal.
The benefits of legal marijuana are numerous. Decriminalization has added hundreds of thousands of jobs. State budgets benefit from the taxes imposed on the drug. Still, allegations of black market operations, driving under the influence, and other offenses can result in arrests that require legal help.