As the country and lawmakers in Washington continue to debate the merits (and legality) of marijuana, the state of Colorado has made a startling discovery: The quasi-legalization of recreational pot use there has had a dramatically positive effect on the rate of opioid deaths.
As reported by Reason Magazine, since the legalized sale of recreational marijuana began in January 2014 after voters in the state approved a measure permitting it (recreational use still remains against federal law, however), the state has witnessed a 6.5 percent fall in opioid deaths.
Research published in the American Journal of Public Health revealed the findings, which are sure to animate advocates for wider legalization of recreational marijuana as well as those, perhaps, who are working to bring the current opioid epidemic under control.
“Legalization of cannabis in Colorado was associated with short-term reductions in opioid-related deaths. As additional data become available, research should replicate these analyses in other states with legal recreational cannabis,” the researchers concluded after studying and analyzing the opioid death rate in the state between 2000 – 2015.