When Senator Cory Booker introduced a bill that would legalize marijuana, you knew people would push back. But while most people expected the usual anti-pot arguments (gateway drug, the false idea that it's addictive, etc.), an op-ed in USA Today took a different approach. It said that marijuana has destroyed...Colorado.
Jeff Hunt is the Vice-President of Public Policy at Colorado Christian University. In response to Booker's proposed legislation, Hunt wrote an op-ed for USA Today talking about all the ways marijuana legalization has "devastated Colorado."
Hunt wrote that since legalizing marijuana in 2012, "Colorado has seen an increase in marijuana related traffic deaths, poison control calls, and emergency room visits. The marijuana black market has increased in Colorado, not decreased. And, numerous Colorado marijuana regulators have been indicted for corruption." However he doesn't cite any statistics or numbers, so he could basically just be making this up. Also, there's the whole "correlation does not equal causation" argument, but considering he doesn't cite statistics, it's not even worth getting into that.
He also tries to take down the argument about marijuana legalization bringing in tax revenue for the government. He notes that cannabis tax revenue totaled a little over $150 million in 2016, meanwhile the state as a whole brought in over $13 billion. Since marijuana taxes only make up a little over one percent of tax revenue, it's not really worth it well.
Of course, this ignores that most of Colorado's marijuana taxes are specifically allocated to improving Colorado schools, so that's $150 million going to improving student lives, which is not a small number. And since the state's marijuana sales increase every year, so will the amount of tax revenue.
He also cites statistics about black and latino arrests for marijuana possession increasing since Colorado legalized cannabis. But the report he cited collected data from 2012 to 2014. While Colorado passed the initiative to legalize marijuana in 2012, it didn't actually become the law until 2014, so two-thirds of that data is irrelevant to issue he's arguing.
So much of Hunt's argument relies on data that he doesn't cite or is irrelevant to the issue. He also seems to discount the benefits of legalization pretty highly. I've never heard anyone say bringing in $150 million in revenue is "devastating" a state.
By the way, Hunt once tried to ban Beauty and the Beast. That should tell you a lot of what you need to know about him.