Get the Facts

Why should Missouri legalize marijuana for adults? 

  • Marijuana prohibition has been just as ineffective, inefficient, and problematic as alcohol prohibition. Polls show a strong and growing majority of Americans agree it is time to end marijuana prohibition. An October 2018 Gallup poll found 66% of Americans think marijuana should be made legal, up from 60% in 2016 and 36% in 2005. An October 2018 Pew Research Center poll found support at 62%, up from 53% in 2015 and 32% in 2006.

  • Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and to society. It is less toxic, less harmful to the body, less addictive, and less likely to contribute to violent or reckless behavior. Adults should not be punished for making the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol, if that is what they prefer.

  • Regulating marijuana like alcohol will replace the uncontrolled illicit market with a tightly regulated system. By regulating marijuana, authorities will actually know who is selling it, where it is being sold, when, and to whom. Marijuana will be produced and sold by legitimate, taxpaying businesses instead of drug cartels and criminals. These businesses will be required to test their products and adhere to strict labeling and packaging requirements that ensure marijuana is identifiable and consumers know what they are getting.

  • Law enforcement officials’ time and resources would be better spent addressing serious crimes instead of arresting and prosecuting adults for using marijuana. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are arrested each year for marijuana-related offenses, the vast majority of which are for simple possession. Meanwhile, clearance rates for many serious crimes are exceptionally low, and many never result in an arrest. Research shows that the number of serious crimes solved by police increases after passage of legalization laws. 

  • Enforcement of marijuana prohibition laws disproportionately impacts communities of color. Despite using marijuana at roughly the same rates as whites, blacks in the U.S. are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. In some states the disparity is even greater.

  • Prohibition wastes public resources while marijuana taxation brings in revenue. Under prohibition, law enforcement and criminal justice resources are spent on senselessly arresting otherwise law-abiding adults for marijuana. Legalizing marijuana, on the other hand, bolsters states’ budgets. Since legal marijuana sales began in 2014, both Colorado and Washington have each generated well over $1 billion in new tax revenue from marijuana.

  • Legalization strengthens the economy. Recent research from the Colorado State University found that, in Colorado’s Pueblo County, legalization has created a net positive impact of $35 million for the local economy. The authors write, “When compared to other similar communities in states where cannabis is not legal in any form, Pueblo appears to be doing better on a number of measures.” Another recent study found that marijuana businesses increased property values in Colorado. A 2019 report by economists found there were more than 211,000 full-time jobs in the legal marijuana sector, which is more than the number of bakers in the United States. 

Responding to concerns 

  • Legalization of marijuana for adults is linked with a decrease in teen marijuana use. In July 2019, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a major report analyzing federal data from more than 1.4 million high school students. The authors, including researchers from the University of Montana, found that legalization of marijuana for adults was associated with an 8% decline in past-30 day marijuana use and a 9% decline in frequent use among teens. Additionally, both Colorado and Washington, the first states to legalize marijuana for adult use, have conducted large-scale surveys involving tens of thousands of students. The results show no increases in teen marijuana use since passage of legalization.

  • The evidence shows no causal relationship between marijuana use and the onset of mental health conditions. If marijuana causes psychosis, rates of psychosis should rise if marijuana use goes up, but that has not happened. According to a report published by the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, marijuana use skyrocketed in the 1960s and 1970s, but there was no significant increase in rates of psychosis.

  • The so-called “Gateway Theory” has been debunked repeatedly. Most recently, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reported in February 2017 that there is no substantial link between marijuana use and the use of other illegal drugs. If anything, evidence suggest that legalizing marijuana is linked with lower public health problems related to drug misuse. A 2019 study, for example, found that access to recreational marijuana reduced annual opioid mortality in the range of 20% to 35%, with particularly pronounced effects for prescription opioids.

  • There's no compelling research showing a link between marijuana legalization and increased traffic accidents. Though some research has found a modest increase in traffic fatalities in Colorado and Washington post-legalization, other studies have reached different conclusions, and there are good reasons to doubt claims that legalization causes an increase in fatal crashes. A paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed the rates of drivers found with THC (marijuana’s primary psychoactive ingredient) in their systems after fatal car crashes from 2013 to 2016. The researchers then compared the patterns of THC-positive drivers in Colorado and Washington during that time period to those in other states. In a summary of their results, the authors wrote, “We find the synthetic control groups saw similar changes in marijuana related, alcohol-related and overall traffic fatality rates despite not legalizing recreational marijuana.” Furthermore, according to data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, four of the eight states that legalized marijuana from 2012 through 2016 saw decreased rates of fatal car crashes following passage of legalization laws. These reduced crash rates were greater than the reduction seen on the national level over the same time period.

 

Showing 2 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Paul Hall
    commented 2020-02-23 11:52:09 -0600
    I am reposting an edited version of this because my first post had some typos in it. I am all for the legalization of recreational MJ, however I am totally against this initiative because it locks most Missourians out of starting an MJ business. Just like the medical initiative, this recreational initiative is set up so that businesses from outside the state can come in and dominate the industry. These large out of state businesses donate heavily to this initiative because, it is set up to serve their interests. Don’t sign and if it reaches the ballot this year vote no, so that we can put together a recreational initiative for 2022 that does not force Missourians to team up with out of state entities and gives every Missourian access who wants it. All Missourians should be allowed access to these businesses. Lets have a $1,500.00 application fee and no limits on the number of cannabis business so that ANY MO citizen, can have a cannabis business instead of just rich people and only a token 18 disadvantaged people.
  • Paul Hall
    commented 2020-02-23 08:50:29 -0600
    I am all for the legalization of medical MJ, however I am totally against this initiative because it locks most Missourians out of starting an MJ business. Just like the medical initiative, this recreational initiative is set up so that businesses from outside the state can come in and dominate the industry. These large out of state businesses donate heavily to this initiative because, it is set up to serve their interests. Don’t sign and if it reaches the ballot this year vote no, so that we can put together a recreational initiative for 2022 that does not force Missourians to team up with out of state entities and gives every Missourian access who wants it. All Missourians should be allowed access to these businesses. Lets have a $1,500.00 application fee and no limits on the number of cannabis business so that ANY MO citizen, can have a cannabis business instead of just rich people and only a token 18 disadvantages people.
News Get Involved Donate