Cannabis legalization is a hot topic across the nation. Weedmaps launched the Weedfacts billboard campaign to help dispel some of the myths around cannabis and foster real dialogue about cannabis legalization. Read about some of the messages in our Weedfacts campaign. You can also check out their sources, all taken directly from government resources, reputable news agencies and academic research publications. Help spread the message! Share these messages with others to keep the conversation going. If you see our billboards and educational materials in your city, share the #weedfacts and continue to educate others.

Youth Usage Rates

Opponents of cannabis legalization continue to voice concern that legalization leads to increased youth access and usage rates. However, this has not occurred in legal jurisdictions. According to data from the Washington State Department of Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, youth usage rates have stayed flat or slightly decreased. Data from Oregon and Alaska show the same thing. In a 2014 study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Lancet Psychiatry, the authors analyzed youth cannabis usage rates over the previous 24-year period and found “no evidence for an increase of adolescent marijuana use after passage of state laws permitting use of marijuana for medical purposes.” The authors concluded, “concerns that increased adolescent marijuana use is an unintended effect of state medical marijuana laws seem unfounded.” (Hasin, Deborah S. et al. “Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the USA from 1991 to 2014: results from annual, repeated cross-sectional surveys.” The Lancet Psychiatry 2.7 (2015): 601-08)

Opioid Deaths and Legalization

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015—nearly half of these deaths involved a prescription opioid. The White House declared the opioid crisis in the United States a nationwide public health emergency in October, 2017. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, states that have legalized medical marijuana have seen a near 25% reduction in opioid-related deaths. In addition, a study released by the American Public Health Association in August 2017 stated that “the legalization of cannabis was associated with a short-term reduction in opioid-related deaths.”

Taxes Generated

Per the United States Government Accountability Office, state and local governments continue to face mounting financial challenges meeting budget requirements. One of the boons associated with cannabis legalization is the massive amount of tax revenue generated by cities and states that legalize. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, legalized marijuana generated additional tax revenue for cities and towns where marijuana businesses operated. The state used this revenue to fund policy programs ranging from schools to infrastructure to scholarships. Oregon and Washington generated $60 million and $256 million in tax revenue in 2016, respectively. For additional information related to tax policies, check out WM Policy’s white papers on tax and city revenue.

Theft and Petty Crime

There are many ancillary benefits associated with cannabis legalization, ranging from employment boosts to increased revenue. Studies analyzing crime statistics are revealing a lesser known benefit—crime reduction. According to The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, there is an up to 12% reduction in robberies, larcenies and burglaries attributed to the legalization of marijuana. Other studies have also found a decrease in general petty crime rates following marijuana legalization.

Medicaid Spending

Medicaid, a program jointly administered by states and the federal government, provides health care coverage to 72.5 million Americans. The program is the largest source of health coverage in the United States. Increasingly, individuals are using medical marijuana to address medical conditions instead of prescriptions drugs. Due to this trend, a recent study published by Health Affairs found that if medical marijuana were legalized nationwide in 2014, Medicaid Part D could have saved $1 billion on prescription drug spending. To find nearby medical professionals with information on how cannabis may treat a specific condition, click here.

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