Interim U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer recently published a tirade in The Denver Post attacking Colorado’s policy of marijuana legalization. Citing discredited prohibitionist organizations and misleading statistics, many of his arguments followed the standard prohibitionist talking points.
Now, a state legislator who has worked for years to strengthen and improve Colorado’s system of marijuana regulations offers a powerful response. Rep. Jonathan Singer’s op-ed is a point-by-point rebuttal to the most common critiques of Colorado’s experiment with legalization.
First, Singer addresses the many ways legalization has benefited the state:
“The regulated cannabis industry in Colorado supports over 40,000 jobs from farmers to retailers, it accounts for 5.5 percent of Colorado’s employment growth, and it has so far contributed over $800 million in tax revenue according to the Department of Revenue. Those tax dollars have been put to good use fixing crumbling schools, addressing the opioid crisis, helping build more affordable housing and funding the cost of regulation.”
He then takes on Troyer’s claim that the illicit marijuana market has “exploded.” Singer points out, “Our own Colorado Department of Public Safety has said that since legalization ‘the percent of black market activity has gone down.’”
Taking on the issue of teen marijuana use, Singer confronts Troyer with the facts: “[W]hile Troyer mentions his concerns about teen use of cannabis, it turns out that adolescent marijuana use has dropped to its lowest level in a decade according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.”
The piece concludes with a strong endorsement of the partnership between government and those in the marijuana business community. Singer writes, “Why do all of these numbers sound so promising? Because they point to a system that — while still in its early stages and continually being refined — is working. This is in part because the cannabis industry has worked with state and local governments to develop comprehensive taxation, regulatory and enforcement structures. That’s why our regulations work.”
The full op-ed is worth reading and sharing on social media. Anyone in a debate about legalization would benefit from the information and arguments presented in it.