In new book, WSU Vancouver professor sees added benefits of legalized marijuana


In the months following Washington voters authorized legalized marijuana in 2012, Clayton Mosher, a sociology professor at Washington State University Vancouver, noticed what he believed to be unnecessary security issues.

Years following sales started, Mosher believes the apprehension has been confirmed to be unwarranted.

“We’re only 4 years out, but I do not feel you are going to see a lot of unfavorable outcomes,” Mosher mentioned. “We’ve carried out a definitely very good job in our state, I feel.”

Mosher, who has studied marijuana policy for roughly 30 years, not too long ago released his new book “In the Weeds,” which he co-wrote with Scott Akins, an associate sociology professor at Oregon State University. The book traces the evolution of society’s views on the drug and how it has impacted policy.

The book tackles the effects, healthcare applications and probable harms of marijuana. Though legalization across the U.S. will not come about in the foreseeable future, and the rollout of some states’s new marijuana laws have been clunky, the added benefits have significantly outweighed the dangers in Washington, Mosher mentioned.

One particular of the chief issues following the 2012 vote was that a lot easier access to the drug would lead to far more motor car crashes. In 2016, 110 Washington drivers died when below the influence of the drug, according to a 2018 report from the state Site visitors Security Commission. By comparison, 132 men and women died when below the influence of alcohol, 152 from speeding and 154 from distracted driving.

“The thought that it was going to lead to this carnage on the roads is definitely not manifesting,” Mosher mentioned.

One more concern was that youth use would rise sharply. In 2016, 26 % of 12th graders reported utilizing marijuana in the preceding 30 days, according to the most current Washington State Healthful Youth Survey. Prices had been reduced for younger students.

Mosher mentioned the state has established a method of robust checks on marijuana dispensaries that has restricted the quantity of teens accessing the drug.

Some research have linked marijuana to psychosis, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Mosher questioned how these research quantified their benefits and characterized several of the conclusions as correlational.

“We definitely do not know what’s going on there,” Mosher mentioned. “It’s by no indicates a confirmed connection.”

Mosher also recognized some troubles with marijuana.

On the small business side, he pointed to a lack of correct licensing restrictions — specifically in Oregon — as a main purpose the drug has been overproduced, significantly lowering costs. Also, when dangers to teens are not as pronounced as several believed a couple of years ago, some attitudes toward marijuana are problematic, he mentioned.

“A lot of men and women feel, specifically young white males, that ‘I drive improved when I’m smoking pot,’” Mosher mentioned.

But the couple of unfavorable outcomes do not harsh legal marijuana’s higher, Mosher mentioned.

Mosher especially pointed to security added benefits — a improved potential to test marijuana for pesticides and mold — and income — hundreds of millions of tax dollars collected by the state every year. He added that the income could be directed toward education about how to safely consume the drug, like campaigns against driving below the influence.

A main takeaway from “In the Weeds” is that marijuana has been made use of for several centuries and has not triggered the troubles that several have theorized, Mosher mentioned.

“If the sky was going to fall, it most likely would’ve fallen by now,” Mosher mentioned, “Legalization didn’t build marijuana, and we’ve observed some optimistic effects of this.”


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