The Social Impacts of Cannabis Legalization In Oregon: A Case Study

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Hash, Nickolas
Social and Behavioral Sciences
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Classic assumptions about substances carrying dangerous impacts for society might not hold as true as once believed. Ulterior sources of input like personal morality or faith tend to inform these positions, resulting in policies that do no not align with fact based research. The aggregate of these policies make up what we often refer to as the “U.S. War on Drugs,” in which many scholars, politicians and citizens alike have chalked up as a failed political crusade that disproportionately affects poor and minority communities. A growing body of work is now confirming that the dangers once associated with substances, such as cannabis, were done-so under false pretenses and that the societal and economic benefits of decriminalizing such things appear to far outweigh the correlated consequences. Using individuals states as test cases, substantial statewide and local benefits ubiquitously coincide cannabis legalization. Additionally, the states that have granted the greatest amount of freedom surrounding cannabis are showing the strongest relationships to this benefit pattern. The data being collected in the very first US recreational market cases, e.g. Colorado and Washington, appear to hold true to this mounting relationship as well, leading one to ask if this is to be expected in all state cases. Those that quickly followed, e.g. Oregon and Alaska, may offer results that help clarify or embolden what we are seeing, therefore this report examines the case of Oregon’s recreational market effects on the state against the flagship states’ and national trend relationships for similar policies changes.