A year after Washington opened shop on its first legal cannabis retail outlets, statistics and hard facts about marijuana legalization resoundingly indicate a good move in passing I-502. While naysayers in other states continue to rail against legalization, it’s the facts that continue to tell the true tale. In the wake of the controversial bill that legalized and regulated recreational marijuana use in the state, the numbers present higher-than-expected financial benefits, a marked decrease in arrests, and none of the doom-and-gloom apocalyptic predictions of drugged youth. The facts about marijuana as filtered through the economic climate in Washington have other states strongly considering following suit with their own bills of legalization.
The Facts About Marijuana Legalization’s Impact on Local Tax
The primary head-turning statistics in the wake of Washington’s I-502 have been in the taxes. Washington is boasting $70 million in tax revenue combined for state and local government based on an average daily sale of $1.4 million. While this may seem like a win-win scenario for the state of Washington, the true facts about marijuana draw a divisive line between the government and the growers. Independent businesses have complained that the steep taxes have crippled their income, siphoning the success directly into the local government’s pocket. The government has already taken this into consideration, measuring it against the statistical facts about marijuana documented by initial reports. A reduced tax for growers will be rolling out soon with the difference picked up by the consumer. This will allow Washington to continue pumping those tax dollars into programs aimed at educating the public about the dangers of substance abuse and providing health care services to the local community. Likewise, the tax dollars will be combined with newly researched facts about marijuana to create medical research programs to further determine the health benefits of cannabis.
Plummeting Marijuana-Related Arrests
It’s only common sense that with Washington’s legalization, the number of marijuana-related arrests would drop like a rock. But the facts about marijuana related arrests show a 98% drop in low-level offenses among adults over the age of 21, an 81% drop in weed related convictions, and an across-the-board 63% plunge in legal violations related to marijuana. But even Washingtonians who’ve never touched the stuff benefit from these numbers. That’s because the state is conserving millions of dollars normally spent on enforcing Washington state marijuana laws.
Violent Crime is Down Too
Since the passing of I-502, statistics point to a marked drop in violent crime. The facts about marijuana legalization in Colorado present similar statistics, indicating that a fluke is unlikely. Non-violent crimes that are unrelated to marijuana offenses show no significant change.
No Increase in Marijuana Use Among Minors
A huge concern of those lobbying against legalization was a feared increase in drug abuse in minors. However, since Washington’s legalization of marijuana, the state shows no change in marijuana use among minors. Furthermore, tax revenue is being used to fund afterschool and educational programs to inform minors about the facts of marijuana.
Traffic Fatalities Show No Effect
Vehicular deaths remain at their same pre-legalization level. Traffic fatalities were another hot point for anti-legalization lobbyists but the numbers don’t support the claims.
It’s clearer than ever before that speculation is taking a back seat to facts about marijuana and its social effects in the wake of Washington’s legalization. States on the fence about legalization will undoubtedly continue to monitor cannabis statistics in legal states to determine whether the benefits outweigh the skepticism. In the end, it will be the numbers that reveal the true facts about marijuana legalization as opposed to the hypothetical conjecture.