Marijuana is far less toxic, less addictive, and less harmful to the body than alcohol. For more details, including links to studies, check out this comparison.
Teen marijuana use has actually decreased in Colorado since it became the first state to legalize adult-use marijuana. None of the legalization states have seen a statistically significant increase in youth marijuana use — most have seen decreases within the margin of error. Check out the data yourself.
Ten states and Canada have legalized marijuana for adults’ use since 2012. Those states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington.
A 2017 study in the American Journal of Public Health concluded, “Three years after recreational marijuana legalization, changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were not statistically different from those in similar states without recreational marijuana legalization.” Learn more here. Also of note, Connecticut’s HB 7372 would increase the number of drug recognition experts, who are trained to detect drivers impaired by cannabis, prescription medications, or any other substance.
Washington State generated more than $434 million in cannabis tax revenue in 2018, while Colorado generated $250 million. Adjusted for Connecticut’s population, that would be $156 to $205 million. For state-by-state, year-by-year data on cannabis tax rates and revenues, check out this document.
While marijuana is far safer than alcohol, like many legal products, there are some risks. For example, some marijuana consumers become dependent, and marijuana can have short-term negative effects on memory.
Learning from other states, HB 7371 was drafted to include strong public health protections. Cannabis products must include warnings about potential risks, which would be developed in conjunction with researchers. Warnings would advise about impairment and driving-related risks, risks related to developing minds of young adults, mental health-related considerations, and concerns related to pregnancy. In addition, cannabis products and packaging could not appeal to minors.
Despite similar rates of marijuana use, blacks are still arrested at far higher rates than whites for cannabis. As of 2010, African Americans were 12% of the population in Connecticut, but accounted for more than 30% of marijuana possession arrests.
Marijuana prohibition’s history is rooted in racism. Harry Anslinger, commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, led the federal push for de facto prohibition, making virulently racist claims, such as, “Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men.”
Decades later, a top advisor to Richard Nixon explained, "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."
SB 1085 would erase records of past convictions for possessing up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis. HB 7371 would allow those most harmed by marijuana prohibition to have a head start applying for licenses. Cannabis businesses would have to have policies to promote diversity in the workplace, contracts, and other professional opportunities. Any non-equity applicant would be required to create and implement a plan for investment and employment opportunities in disproportionately impacted communities with a history of economic disinvestment.
No state has even had a serious attempt to repeal a legalization law. Even some prominent detractors have come to see that the sky didn’t fall. Then Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper vocally opposed the state’s adult-use initiative. He later said, “After the election, if I could've had a magic wand, and I could've waved it and reversed the outcome of the election, I would've done it. Now if I had that same magic wand, I'm not sure I'd wave it." See what key officials are saying about marijuana regulation.