By Doug Cunningham
Josh Hovey is spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol – the group that successfully steered Michigan’s ballot initiative that legalized recreational marijuana. Hovey says as the state works out the finer points of regulating marijuana in the coming year, there is little reason to fear the negative consequences that opponents of legalization predicted.
“Other states have a track record that we’ve been able to learn from. It’s a legitimate concern that people don’t want kids to get their hands on it, but we know from the states that have already gone before us that teen use doesn’t go up. The state health departments in Washington and Colorado have studied this. They concluded no significant increases – no statistical increase – in teen use.”
Hovey says the experience of other states also tells us that marijuana legalization doesn’t correlate with an increase in driving under the influence of pot.
“Driving under the influence isn’t increasing. There’s no statistical correlation between states with legalized marijuana laws and states without. So while people have legitimate concerns I think what we really need to do is take a step back and look at the facts in the other states that have legalized and learn the lessons that they have.”
Hovey says the Michigan law incorporates the best practices drawn from the experience of other states that legalized marijuana.