As the oldest REC market in the country, Colorado is well positioned to observe the broader effects of legalization on society. In an interesting piece, Cannabis Wire goes through the state’s latest Impacts of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado study and finds that the data generally supports, or at least doesn’t contradict, industry talking points on the benefits of legalization.
Among other things:
- More adults and about the same number of youth are consuming. Among adults, past month use climbed from 13.4% in 2014 to 19% in 2019.
- While the number of fatalities among drivers who tested positive for cannabis has climbed, the evidence isn’t especially compelling that legalization significantly increased concerns around public safety or road safety.
- The studies authors warn their data needs to be interpreted “with caution” due to a host of complicating factors.
Despite legalization, the study found racial disparities in pot arrests persist, though the overall number of arrests has dropped.