Colorado has granted $2.35 million to study the effects of legalizing marijuana in the state four years ago. With similar legislation passing this year in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada–and likely more in the future–Colorado is being treated as a testing ground for how legal pot works in practice. These new studies reflect the demand for data like this.
Not that there hasn’t been data already. There’s no dispute that it’s big business–Colorado marijuana is a billion-dollar industry–but other numbers have been created more contention. Opponents of legalization in California used increases in drugged driving and poison center calls to argue against the measure, while polls show continued support in Colorado for the law. And while most citizens approve, law enforcement is less enthusiastic, struggling to execute a tangle of regulations.
There’s more research to be done, basically, and Colorado is using its own experiences to provide that. It’s still unclear what the best policy on pot would be, but Colorado is likelier to know than most.