Good Data Will Be Key to Measuring Marijuana’s Impact

Article by Guy Dixon, The Globe and Mail

Good data will be key to measuring marijuana’s impact GUY DIXON

What changed in Colorado after the legalization of cannabis? And what can Canada learn from that?

We may never fully know, at least not to the highly detailed level that policy makers prefer.

“One thing that I think we’ve seen is that we have very bad data when it comes to impaired driving” caused by cannabis and other drugs rather than alcohol, said Jack Reed, statistical analyst at the Office of Research and Statistics, Colorado Division of Criminal Justice.

That’s just one example.

Because cannabis legalization, like any major policy change, can touch so many corners of public life, data collection and analysis must keep pace. But in determining what has changed, say, in Colorado, the problem has been insufficient data about cannabis use – more specifically, data prior to legalization. And without that, before-and-after comparisons can be blurry.

So, officials and regulators are arguing that one thing they’ve learned – whether studying legalization in other jurisdictions or similar public-health policies such as those governing tobacco or alcohol – is that data is intensely needed.

Read the full article here.

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