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Don’t believe everything you read

Monday, Apr 23, 2018

* A classic he said/she said in the Sun-Times

An anti-cannabis group estimates legalizing recreational marijuana use will cost Illinois $670 million a year.

But pro-legalization pols say they’re just blowing smoke.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana, in collaboration with Healthy & Productive Illinois, concluded in a report on Thursday that drugged driving, as well as greater levels of workplace injury and absenteeism, would be the biggest contributors to the estimated cost. […]

But state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who helped introduce legislation for legalizing and regulating the substance, was critical of the research.

“To call it a study is overly generous,” Cassidy said. “It relies heavily on data that has been debunked repeatedly, from an organization that has been repeatedly debunked.”

* The Healthy & Productive Illinois “study” conflates state government revenues from pot sales with overall economic costs of legalization. Those are two very different things. Not to mention that their projected economic costs are mostly goofy.

For instance, they claim legalization will cost the economy $210.4 million in increased absenteeism. Wow, that sure is precise. But real studies do no corroborate this projection (click here).

* They say that costs of workplace injuries will rise by $58.5 million. But this is from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

There is no or insufficient evidence to support or refute a statistical association between cannabis use and… Occupational accidents or injuries (general, non-medical cannabis use)

Click here for another one.

* They claim that increased drugged driving fatalities will cost society $231 million and increased drugged driving injuries will cost $85.2 million. But, while the number of Colorado’s car accidents increased after it ended prohibition, the state’s population increased as well and two studies showed no correlation (one actually showed that deaths fell).

They even project that “Marijuana concentrate lab explosions” will cost $13.3 million a year. Um, OK. Most of those explosions that I could find were in illegal “labs.” Legalization brings regulations.

* So, who’s behind this Healthy & Productive Illinois group? The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Drug Enforcement Officers Association, the Mid-West Truckers Association and the Illinois Association Of Housing Authorities.

In other words, you have two police groups which have members who directly benefit from drug seizure laws. And the Mid-West Truckers Association has operated a drug testing service for well over 20 years, so it may be making a few bucks off of that. The group’s director told me they oppose legalization because “federal law pretty much has zero tolerance for it” and flunking a drug test “will put a transportation worker out-of-service and often out of a job.”

* Back to the Sun-Times story

“It’s important to consider studies like this, that show costs may outweigh revenue the state could bring in, and see the impact of experiments with legalization going on in Colorado, California and other places before making any decision about it in Illinois,” Rachel Bold, spokeswoman for Rauner, said.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 12:48 pm:

    Are there any studies anywhere that show how many more people try marijuana and become regular users after it is legalized? I bet you he percentage increase is not that large.

  2. - A guy - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 12:55 pm:

    Stats: Fake ‘em til you make ‘em. There are multiple states where med mar is legal. What do those show? Other states than Colorado?

    Is it too much to ask for a real comprehensive study if these folks are so concerned? Ugh.

  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 12:58 pm:

    Smart Approaches to Marijuana, founded by Patrick Kennedy, does not disclose its funders on the national level.

    But from disclosure on its state level PACS, one of their biggest contributors is a DC rich person, Julie Schauer:

    –….she has made her views on marijuana public on several occasions. Tom Angell, founder of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority and a reporter for, uncovered 2-year-old comments Schauer posted on the website OpenSecrets in which she blamed mass shootings and terrorist attacks, including the Boston Marathon bombing, on the perpetrators’ marijuana use.–

    So, a new twist to Reefer Madness.

  4. - Henry Francis - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 12:59 pm:

    You still have a bunch of folks who don’t accept the science behind climate change. Getting them to accept that this “illegal drug” actually isn’t the devil weed that Nancy Reagan warned us about is gonna be tough.

  5. - Just Observing - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 1:05 pm:

    Does the “study” take into account that a large segment of the population is already smoking pot?

  6. - Casual observer - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 1:16 pm:

    Since legalization of marijuana in California, dispensaries are reporting a large number of new customers are seniors. Baby boomers are retiring just as arthritis kicks in. I don’t think they give a hoot what this group claims.

  7. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 1:23 pm:

    What about the costs to low income folks and minorities, who suffer the most under illegal marijuana? How much money is spent every year on incarcerating, trying and arresting people? What about the crime that’s committed in gangs—the violence and social costs—that impacts poor people? Like Royko said a long time ago, it’s not like Lake Forest kids are out on the streets shooting each other up.

    Even after Chicago decriminalized marijuana, it was reported that people of color were disproportionately arrested (at the discretion of police).

    Illegal marijuana has racist roots, and it’s still racist to insist that we keep this abysmally failed policy alive—a policy that wastes millions of dollars and harms so many lives.

  8. - d.p.gumby - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 1:25 pm:

    What were they smoking while doing their “study”?

  9. - Casual observer - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 1:35 pm:

    Good article supporting my previous post:

  10. - VanillaMan - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 2:01 pm:

    Gover Hickenlooper of Colorado doesn’t recommend this. It’s a Pandora’s bong filled with problems.

  11. - ImNotTaylorSwift - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 2:12 pm:

    “It’s important to consider studies that show the Earth is flat, they show a different view of our world and can’t be discounted. We should think about this before making any decision about it,” Rachel Bold, probably

  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 2:16 pm:

    ===Gover Hickenlooper of Colorado doesn’t recommend this===

    Dude wants all the money for his state.

  13. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 2:21 pm:

    Can’t wait for Rauner’s roll out alcohol prohibition

  14. - Thoughts Matter - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 2:41 pm:

    Just because something becomes legal doesn’t make it legal to drive while using it. No one would be forcing a trucker to use pot any more than they’d be forcing a trucker to drink alcohol. Not understanding the Midwest Truckers opposition here. Are they saying the same truckers who know they can’t drink and drive wouldn’t understand they can’t smoke pot and drive? They would still be doing the same testing they are now.

  15. - Earnest Not Borgnine - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 3:18 pm:

    Couldn’t even be bothered to address the issue himself, had to have a spokeswoman do it.

    Just how much is Rauner figuring being against this issue will hurt him?

  16. - frisbee - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 4:26 pm:

    Word, if you want Reefer Madness you should know that the Macon County Sheriff is worried about the drug dogs being put to sleep if Illinois legalizes the herb.

  17. - Weedly Peedly - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 5:01 pm:

    Reefer Madness… It’s still in play 82 years later

  18. - Radio Flyer - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 6:55 pm:

    Pot sniffing dogs can’t be used for DUIs? They can’t become pets?

  19. - Devon Wallace - Tuesday, Apr 24, 18 @ 8:13 am:

    The smartest approach to marijuana begins with honest, accurate, balanced information.

    Nearly every claim by SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) is misleading, disputed or refuted by the scientific community. This makes every monetary claim in their anti-legalization reports groundless for the most part. In their “cost of legalization” reports they do not even attempt to include any data regarding positives of legalization other than predicted tax income. For example, money will be saved from far fewer arrests, prosecutions and incarcerations for sales/possession, yet this data is not factored into their reports. While difficult or impossible to convert into monetary terms, our core beliefs in liberty and freedom are also completely left out of the discussion.

    SAM founders/leaders have strong ties to the addiction treatment industry which will significantly benefit from forced court-related treatment referrals that inevitably occur under prohibition. This is likely part of the reason why they fight legalization.

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