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Town in Colorado Might Rename Itself ‘Kush’ in Honor of the Cannabis Industry, Recent Data Shows Medical Marijuana Legalization is Associated with Safer Roads, and DEA’s Marijuana Seizures Increased in 2021

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Town in Colorado Might Rename Itself ‘Kush’ in Honor of the Cannabis Industry

A small town in Colorado – currently known as Moffat – is considering changing its name to “Kush”. The idea for changing the town’s name came from Mike Biggio, the owner and founder of Area 420. Biggio’s company licenses land in Moffat to grow cannabis. Over the past six years, cultivation licenses in the area went from two to 70. According to town mayor Cassandra Foxx, this growth is driven by Area 420. Foxx says she credits the cannabis industry and Area 420 for breathing new life into the tiny town of 120 residents and providing them with an opportunity to grow.

Recent Data Shows Medical Marijuana Legalization is Associated with Safer Roads

A recent study published in the journal Health Economics found that auto insurance premiums went down in states that legalized medical marijuana. This indicates that medical cannabis legalization correlates with safer driving. The study analyzed insurance data from 2014 to 2019, which showed that auto insurance premiums decreased by an average of $22 per year after states legalized medical cannabis. The researchers behind the study concluded that this premium decrease may be due to less drunk driving, possibly indicating that people switched from alcohol to cannabis use once it was legalized for medical purposes. While a $22 average premium reduction may not seem significant on its face, the study found that “medical cannabis legalization has reduced auto insurance premiums by $1.5 billion in all states that have currently legalized, with the potential to reduce premiums by an additional $900 million if the remaining states were to legalize”. The overall conclusion of the study was that legal access to medical cannabis had a positive impact on road safety. While more research in this area is always helpful, this is contrary to a prohibitionist argument that legalization leads to unsafe road conditions.

DEA’s Marijuana Seizures Increased in 2021

Despite strides forward for cannabis reform in many states and even some effort on the federal level, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) released a report which shows that the agency seized far more cannabis last year than it did in recent years. The annual report from DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program showed that the agency seized more than 5.5 million plants in 2021 and arrested about 6,600 people for cannabis in the same year. Compared to 2020, that is a notable increase of approximately 22 percent in confiscated plants and about 32 percent more arrests. Interestingly, the report from DEA shows a contrast to data and trends regarding cannabis seizures and arrests from other federal agencies like the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the Congressional Research Service, which showed declines in cannabis arrests and illegal marijuana from Mexico, respectively. 

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