A new study on the impacts of marijuana, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, showed that marijuana programs do not affect neighboring or non-legal states negatively.
The new study authors, while conducting their state-level analysis, were looking to answer three questions; first, the impact of legalization on law enforcement resources in legal states. Secondly, how those resources in bordering and non-legal states are affected, and lastly, what it means for drug trafficking after marijuana is legalized.
The researchers used past statistics on drug possession and distribution in the legalized states as well as the neighboring non-legal states to assess the impact of marijuana legalization. The analyzed data showed that legalization did not have any noticeable increase in the number of arrests related to possession or trafficking offenses in legalized or non-legalized states.
Although the Department of Justice funded the study, they do not want the public thinking that they are endorsing the findings because, on every page of the report, there is disclaimer which stresses that the authors’ opinion does not reflect the standpoint or policies of the Department of Justice in the U.S.
The study found that in Washington, there was a decline in the number of possession arrests after cannabis was legalized in 2012, followed by a decrease in distribution arrests after retail sales were introduced.
Marijuana was legalized in 2014 in Oregon, and since the study was carried out in 2015, there was not enough data. However, the little data that was available showed that possession arrests post-legalization dropped close to zero, followed by distribution arrests.
In Oklahoma, which is a non-legal state bordering Colorado, the majority of drug arrests consisted of marijuana possession. However, the number of arrests for marijuana possession declined after marijuana was legalized in Colorado. The number of distribution arrests also decreased, with a small increase in 2013.
There were also noticeable changes in Kansas after marijuana was legalized in the neighboring state of Colorado
The report was supplemented with interviews from law enforcement officials who expressed their concern saying that they have more work due to the perceived increase in young adult usage, THC potency of marijuana, driving under the influence, and an influx of marijuana consumers from non-legal to legal states.
The findings from the Colorado interviews showed that due to the high potency of the THC products, the influence of the drug cartels in the markets has been thwarted. However, in Oregon, there is a spike in drug trafficking by the Afghan and Russian groups stealing marijuana crops and cash from farmers.
The team concluded that, indeed, recreational marijuana legalization results in a dip in possession and trafficking arrests in legalized and non-legal bordering states and that other drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine were the ones having the most impact.
It is believed that marijuana industry players like IONIC Brands Corp. (CSE: IONC) (OTC: IONKF) and Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQB: PLPRF) aren’t surprised by these research findings, and they are glad that the federal government funded the study which debunks the myths regarding marijuana legalization.
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