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Radical Rant: Marijuana Legalization by the Numbers

Russ Belville

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As 2015 draws to a close, 2016 awaits with the promise of being the best year for marijuana legalization ever. To help you make your case for ending adult marijuana prohibition, here are some of the statistics about marijuana in America as we enter the 20th year of medical marijuana in California and the fourth year with legal marijuana states.

The Politics

23: States with medical marijuana (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington).

149 million: Americans who live in medical marijuana states, making up 47 percent of the population.

253: Electoral votes for President of the United States from medical marijuana states, also 47 percent of the total Electoral College.

16: States with low-THC (CBD-only) medical marijuana (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming).

16: States that have decriminalized the adult possession of marijuana (California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont).

4: States that have legalized adult personal use of marijuana (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington).

The Results

$200 million: Tax revenue raised to date by Colorado and Washington’s legalization of marijuana.

49 percent: Tourists to Colorado who said marijuana legalization positively influenced their decision to visit.

31.9 percent: High school seniors who think the regular use of marijuana is risky, the lowest figure recorded in 40 years.

79.5 percent: High school seniors who find it “easy” or “fairly easy” to score some marijuana, the lowest figure recorded in 40 years.

-0.5 percent: Change in the rate of monthly pot smoking by high school seniors over the past five years.

58 percent: Americans who believe that adult use of marijuana should be legal, according to the Gallup Poll.

The Prohibition

9: States with absolute marijuana prohibition (no medical, no CBD-only, no decrim, no legalization—Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and West Virginia).

700,993: Americans arrested last year in the United States on marijuana charges.

88 percent: Proportion of U.S. marijuana arrests that are for possession charges, not growing or dealing.

51.9 percent: People in rehab for marijuana as their primary drug who were forced there by the criminal justice system.

The Public Health

73 percent: Americans who believe that marijuana is safer than alcohol.

64 percent: Americans who believe that marijuana is safer than tobacco.

Over 30,700: Americans who died last year from alcohol-induced causes, not including accidents and homicides.

Over 480,000: Americans who died last year from tobacco-induced causes.

0: Americans who died from marijuana-induced causes, not including accidents and homicides.

(Photo Courtesy of Salon)

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