During his campaign, Donald Trump has become rather infamous for just saying… stuff. It really is as if he just makes up whatever reality he wants as he’s giving a speech or responding to a question. His answers are almost always vague, based on “what he’s heard” with almost no actual source (at least not credible) to back up whatever nonsense dribbled out of his mouth that particular day.
Well, during a recent town hall with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Trump decided to claim that he’s heard some “negative reports” coming out of Colorado concerning the legalization of marijuana in the state. Again, not actual sources, just “what he’s heard.”
“I think that as far as drug legalization, we talk about marijuana, and in terms of medical, I think I am basically for that,” Trump said. “I’ve heard some wonderful things in terms of medical. I’m watching Colorado very carefully to see what’s happening out there. I’m getting some very negative reports, I’m getting some OK reports. But I’m getting some very negative reports coming out of Colorado as to what’s happening, so we’ll see what happens.”
He also went on to suggest that he’s heard there’s a “lasting negative impact” on users.
To his credit, at least he did say he’s open to the idea of legalizing it for medical use. Though that doesn’t negate the fact that the rest of his comments on the subject are basically unfounded.
Is there still research that needs to be done about the long-term impact of marijuana usage? Of course. But that can be said for almost anything. Truthfully, I’m not seeing where there’s been “very negative reports” coming out of Colorado because they legalized marijuana. In fact, many of the reports have been extremely positive.
For instance, crime (including violent crime) has gone down. Overall property crime has fallen by 9 percent. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it actually is quite significant from doing really nothing more than legalizing a plant.
The tax revenue in 2015 from the sale of marijuana generated $135 million, $35 million of which went to building and maintaining schools.
You don’t have to trust my word that these have been beneficial, take it from Denver Police Department Commander William Nagle. “There’s no big catastrophe,” he said during an interview last year. “The sun’s still up. The industry has been going strong out there. Taxes are being collected.”
Then there’s always the lives that are no longer going to be ruined for a simple marijuana arrest. Not only does that save prisons a ton of money (taxpayer money), it also saves on court costs and other expenses that come down the line from incarcerating individuals over ridiculous non-violent offenses. This especially has a huge impact on African American communities considering they often get arrested at a higher rate, and face stiffer punishments, than white people do for crimes such as drug possession.
Not only that, but they’re using the tax revenue to do things like fund substance abuse centers, youth mentoring services and grants to try to prevent students from dropping out of high school.
Then we have the medical benefits of this plant which have actually prompted families from all around the country to move to Colorado for treatment. Often parents desperately seeking help to treat chronic and life threatening seizures or conditions suffered by one of their children.
While there’s still a “wait and see” approach to a lot of this that should be observed, at least in the short-term, marijuana legalization in Colorado has mostly been overwhelmingly positive. So for Donald Trump to say “he’s heard” (his famous two words) about some “very negative reports” I think we would all love to see those reports. The only ones I can find seem to be politically motivated attempts to twist statistics into a Chicken Little “sky is falling” scenario that simply doesn’t exist.
Though I’m going to guess like most things Trump says, his words were based on nothing more than his desperate attempt to say whatever he thought Republican voters wanted to hear rather than anything factually sound.