Report Finds Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Not Associated With Adverse Social Effects

A report published this month by the Cato Institute has found no association between the legalization of recreational marijuana and certain adverse social effects. The report, “The Effect of State Marijuana Legalization: 2021 Update,” was published online by the libertarian-leaning think tank on February 2.

The report builds on an earlier review of research studying the effects of legalizing marijuana and cannabis in states that had enacted reforms prior to mid-2018. That report found that projected effects, both positive and negative, were in many cases overstated by advocates on both sides of the issue.

“At the time, our data showed that state‐​level legalization of marijuana had generally minor effects,” the authors of the report wrote. “One notable exception was the increase in state tax revenue from legalized marijuana sales; states with legal marijuana markets have collected millions of dollars in state tax revenues.”

This year’s update includes additional data from states included in the original report as well as information from states that have legalized cannabis for use by adults since the first one was published. 

“New data reinforce our earlier conclusions,” the authors state in the 2021 update.

Drug Use

The report examined the relationship recreational cannabis legalization has

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