Marijuana scare stories don’t say much about legalization (msnbc)

By ADAM SERWER | June 4, 2014

Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty

Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty

Coverage of marijuana legalization in Colorado has often focused on rare, genuinely tragic occurrences involving overuse of the drug. But “Reefer Madness”-style stories coming out of Colorado won’t tell us much about whether or not legalizing marijuana was a good idea.

“I think we’ve learned very little so far from Colorado,” said Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at UCLA who advised Washington State in developing its legal marijuana policy. “There will be bad things coming out of legalization, but they’re not going to happen quickly.”

There’s little data so far to suggest that marijuana legalization has led to serious public safety problems. Despite the proliferation of terrifying anecdotes publicized by anti-legalization advocates, crime has actually dropped in Colorado since legalization.

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