Debunker: Legalization's effect on teen use hazy at best

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on The San Francisco Chronicle's Green State blog on June 22, 2017. Despite statements to the contrary, we have seen no conclusive evidence that legalizing recreational marijuana is associated with increased youth use. But the fact is, we don’t yet know all the facts. As a nation, we have just embarked on this grand experiment. And we are just at the beginning of gathering the important data points that will help us draw conclusions. Here’s what we know: There are three separate youth surveys that each attempts to gauge teenage use of marijuana. These surveys measure: if teens have ever used marijuana (top sets of lines in Figure 1) if teens cu

Foolish Fallacies: Eliminating the black market overnight

Editor's note: This article originally appeared on The San Francisco Chronicle's Green State blog on June 19, 2017. 'Has Colorado successfully eliminated the marijuana black market?' This is a question I get asked most often when I testify before a state legislature; it’s also the most complicated one to answer. If this were any other commodity, the economics behind ending the black market would be relatively easy: make the regulated market more attractive for buyers than the black market. The regulated industry has the advantage of economies of scale, branding and marketing, quality control, and a safe and friendly purchasing environment. Black market operators, meanwhile, can keep their pr

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