The Effect of State Marijuana Legalizations: 2021 Update – Cato Institute

1. Colorado passed Amendment 64 in November 2012. See “Amendment 64: Use and Regulation of Marijuana,” Colorado, Washington passed Initiative 502 in November 2012. See “Initiative Measure No. 502,” Washington, July 8, 2011,

2. In November 2014, the District of Columbia legalized the use, possession, and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana in the privacy of one’s home. Because of ongoing federal prohibition, marijuana remains illegal on federal land, which makes up 30 percent of Washington DC. Therefore, we do not examine data for Washington. For more information, see “The Facts on DC Marijuana Laws,” Metropolitan Police Department,

3. Ethan Nadelmann, “Marijuana Legalization: Not If, but When,” Huffington Post, November 3, 2010.

4. Kelsey Osterman, “Gary Johnson: Legalizing Marijuana Will Lead to Lower Overall Substance Abuse,” Red Alert Politics, April 24, 2013,

5. Sadie Gurman, “Denver’s Top Law Enforcement Officers Disagree: Is Crime Up or Down?,” Associated Press, January 22, 2014.

6. Jack Healy, “After 5 Months of Sales, Colorado Sees the Downside of a Legal High,” New York Times, May 31, 2014; Josh Voorhees, “Going to Pot?,” Slate, May 21, 2014; and Rob Hotakainen, “Marijuana Is Drug Most Often Linked to Crime, Study Finds,” McClatchy Washington Bureau, May 23, 2013.

7. Matt Ferner, “Gov. John Hickenlooper Opposes Legal Weed: ‘Colorado Is Known for Many Great Things, Marijuana Should Not Be One of Them,” Huffington Post, September 12, 2012.

8. Edwin Meese III and Charles Stimson, “The Case against Legalizing Marijuana in California,” Philadelphia Inquirer, October 3, 2010.

9. Kevin A. Sabet, “SABET: Colorado Will Show Why Legalizing Marijuana Is a Mistake,” Washington Times, January 17, 2014.

10. David W. Murray and John P. Walters, “The Devastation That’s Really Happening in Colorado,” Weekly Standard, July 10, 2014.

11. John Ingold, “U.S. Attorney John Walsh Justifies Federal Crackdown on Medical-Marijuana Shops,” Denver Post, updated July 29, 2016.

12. Gurman, “Is Crime Up or Down?”

13. Robert MacCoun et al., “Do

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