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In it, researchers at Columbia University debunked a 2015 report that indicated medical marijuana laws could cause an increase in underage cannabis use. Using the same data analyzed in the earlier report, the Columbia team found “no evidence of a ... [...]
Happy Monday, Leafly readers! The first day of summer is just around the corner. While you wait for the longest day of the year to arrive, check out the latest news and updates from the cannabis industry over the past couple of weeks. Enjoy! [...]
Owen Poindexter, AlterNet
The more research is released, the more legalization makes sense.
Back in the 1930s, the arguments to criminalize cannabis were bizarre and openly racist. The anti-pot crusader Harry Anslinger made all sorts of over-the-top claims, such as, “Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters.”
Nowadays more than 100 million Americans say they’ve smoke pot, millions use cannabis regularly to treat illnesses and it is as legal as alcohol in two U.S. states. However, it remains illegal under federal law largely due to scare tactics ingrained in our society, which date back even prior to Anslinger.
Today, pot legalization opponents try a little harder to sound reasonable, but their claims don’t do much better than Anslinger’s under scrutiny. Recent studies have picked apart the justifications for criminalizing marijuana. Here are five of the most popular arguments against cannabis legalization that are easily undermined by objective data.
1. Pot leads to crime.
If alcohol prohibition taught us anything it’s that prohibition itself leads to crime, not what is prohibited. While cannabis has shaken the psychotic Reefer Madness reputation over the years, the association between weed and crime is still alive and well in certain realms of the media, which are happy to present data without appropriate statistical caveats.
As for the studies that carefully and objectively examine their data, they find no association between cannabis and crime. A recent study in the journal PLOS One found that in states that legalized medical marijuana between 1990 and 2006 the crime rate either remained the same or decreased.
Another study looked at the Lambeth borough of London, which depenalized cannabis for 13 months in 2001-2002. The study found that this actually reduced other types of crime, because Lambeth police could focus their energy elsewhere.
These results fit with common sense. Cannabis has a range of effects on mood and behavior, but they don’t include violence, impulsivity or other traits that would turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals.
2. The gateway theory.
The gateway theory has long been the stock response of [...]