In a new op-ed for Complete Colorado (via Reason), Jacob Sullum critiques a new report from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area purporting to show the harms of legal marijuana in Colorado. This tax-financed report is deceptive on a number of points. The report claims, among other things, that “traffic fatalities involving operators testing positive for marijuana have increased 100 percent from 2007 to 2012″ and that the “percent of all hospitalizations that were marijuana related increased 91 percent from 2008 to 2013.” But in both cases, Sullum points out, there’s no indication that the traffic fatalities or the hospitalizations were caused by marijuana. Moreover, I would add, part of the difference may simply be that police and hospitals are checking for marijuana more rigorously, and therefore finding it more often.
Of course, the statists at the Heritage Foundation seized on the drug warriors’ report to decry legal marijuana.
But let’s not lose sight of the big picture: One of the benefits of legal marijuana is that, to a substantial degree, police officers are no longer harassing people, arresting them, and locking them in metal cages for doing something they have a moral right to do do.