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As Massachusetts Marks Marijuana Milestone, Stark Stats from Stoners in Colorado


Massachusetts is making history this week, becoming the first state on the East Coast to legalize marijuana and begin commercial sales.

Voters approved recreational marijuana use back in 2016, but starting Tuesday, adults are allowed to legally purchase one ounce of the drug.

One pot shop preparing for large crowds said it was unsure how long supplies would last.

"Obviously there is an immense demand, and we've been preparing for a while to help meet this," Sam Barber of Cultivate told WCVB.

The mayor from the town of North Hampton made the state's first pot purchase – a chocolate bar he reportedly bought as a keepsake of the historic occasion.

"Northampton is a destination city," WWLP quoted Mayor David Narkewicz. "Lots of people come here to enjoy our restaurants, our theater, our concerts, local shops. So I really view this as one more part of what makes Northampton a vibrant and attractive city to visit."

However, legalization of the drug comes at a cost. A new report released this week ahead of the state action in Massachusetts outlined economic and social effects in the wake of marijuana legalization in Colorado.

The findings by the Colorado Christian University's (CCU) Centennial Institute are pretty stark:

  • For every dollar gained in tax revenue, Coloradans spent some $4.50 to mitigate adverse effects of legalization.
  • The largest costs of legalizing the drug are related to the health care system and high school drop-outs.
  • Calls to poison control have increased dramatically since legalization.
  • Long-term use can lead to reduced cognitive ability.

Jeff Hunt serves as vice president of public policy at CCU and director of the Centennial Institute. He says the report is an important first step in "giving researchers and policymakers a sense of the breadth of costs associated with commercial marijuana."

"No matter where you stand in the marijuana legalization debate," he says, "having more information is critical to making the best decisions for the future of Colorado and our nation."

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