Initiative 502, passed by Washington voters in November 2012, legalized the limited adult possession and private consumption of cannabis, as well as its licensed production and sale. The initiative directs WSIPP to evaluate the impact of the law in a series of reports between 2015 and 2032.
In this second required report we address preliminary findings from analyses of effects of I-502 on non-monetary outcomes. We used two main analysis strategies. We examined the effect of I-502 enactment on cannabis abuse treatment admissions, comparing Washington to similar non-legalizing states before and after I-502 enactment. We also examined how local differences in the amount of legal cannabis sales affected cannabis abuse treatment admissions, youth and adult substance use, and drug-related criminal convictions.
These analyses represent an intermediate step towards the ultimate benefit-cost evaluation of I-502 that is required by the law.