Report Details Lessons Learned from Cannabis Legalization

The Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a nonprofit organization based in Virginia, and dedicated to a health-first approach to marijuana policy, released a study this week entitled “Lessons Learned from Marijuana Legalization in Four U.S. States and D.C.”  The study found that legalized states are leading the nation in past-year use of cannabis in every age group, and young adult use is highest in legalized states.  Furthermore, the study found that drugged driving and motor vehicle fatalities have increased in states that have legalized cannabis.  SAM recommends policy makers focus on developing the following research efforts and data collection categories:

  • Emergency room and hospital admissions related to cannabis;
  • Cannabis potency and price trends in the legal and illegal markets;
  • School incidents related to cannabis, including representative data sets;
  • Extent of cannabis advertising toward youth and its impact;
  • Cannabis-related car crashes, including THC levels even when testing positive for alcohol;
  • Mental health effects of cannabis;
  • Admissions to treatment and counseling intervention programs;
  • Cost of implementing legalization from law enforcement to regulators;
  • Cost of mental health and addiction treatment related to increased cannabis use;
  • Cost of needing but not receiving treatment;
  • Effect on the market for alcohol and other drugs;
  • Cost to workplace and employers, and impact on employee productivity.

The full report is available here.