Marijuana and the West

Medical marijuana “Chicken Littles” invent sky-is-falling scenarios in western medical marijuana states.

Marijuana is an “Exit Drug”

In 1999, the Institute of Medicine took a good hard look at the idea of marijuana as a “gateway drug.” They concluded that there is “no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.” In fact, for many trying to kick opiates, marijuana is an “exit drug.” (See Marijuana and Opioids)

Marijuana States’ Highways are Safer than Idaho’s

A 2020 meta-analysis of thirteen relevant studies, published in the Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention, found that “the increased crash risk associated with THC-positive drivers in culpability studies is low.” One such study found that “after adjusting for age, gender, race and alcohol use, drivers who tested positive for marijuana were no more likely to crash than who had not used any drugs or alcohol prior to driving.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, since legalization of medical marijuana in California in 1996, western medical marijuana states have had fewer fatalities per miles driven than Idaho almost every year, and Idaho was more dangerous than the national average.

Teen Marijuana Use is Steady in Marijuana States, But Up in Idaho

According to the National Survey on Drug Use & Health, since 2012–13, marijuana use is down among teens or holding steady in western legal marijuana states but has increased by almost 12% in the State of Idaho.

Urban Coastal Metropolises are not Small Intermountain Cities

“Look at Portland, Seattle, Denver,” supporters of prohibition warn, as if hyper-liberal metroplexes of two million people or more on the West Coast are any barometer of what might happen to a city of 200,000 like Boise.

Why wouldn’t we look to similar-sized cities and towns in rural, intermountain, conservative states like Salt Lake City, Utah; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; or Billings, Montana?

Crime is Down in Marijuana States

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, violent crime and property crime are on a steady decline since medical marijuana. The FBI Uniform Crime Report shows similar declines in other western marijuana states.

High School Dropout Rates are Similar Across the West

In Idaho, about 80% of high school students graduate, according to state education figures. In Oregon, about 80% of high school students graduate. It’s about 80% in Washington, 82% in Colorado, and 84% in California.

Marijuana is in Idaho Now

200,000 Idahoans use marijuana, 113,000 of them regularly. They spend an estimated $20,000,000 monthly across the border and an untold amount with unlicensed dealers within Idaho. Idaho receives zero dollars in tax revenue in return.

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