As states consider changing their pot laws, research on the effect of marijuana remains scant. Since it’s a Schedule I drug on the federal level, grant money and willing test subjects can be difficult to find. But The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan compiled a rundown of the research that is available. Among her takeaways: pot impairs driving, but not as badly as alcohol; it can impair memory in young brains, but help prevent Alzheimer’s in older brains; and effects of withdrawal are far weaker than substances like alcohol, opiates, or benzodiazepines. We’ll hear more from Khazan about what we know and don’t know about pot as debates over legalization continue.
The effort to legalize pot is ramping up. Colorado — the first state to get a recreational pot program off the ground — collected $2.1 million in taxes and fees in the first month after legalization. And Washington (where demand is high) is in the middle of getting its state-regulated program up and running.
Though Oregon’s legislature declined to refer a legalization initiative to voters, backers of signature-gathering efforts for several legalization initiatives say they’re confident they can get a measure on the November ballot. Meanwhile, dozens of states around the country are debating whether to create new medical marijuana programs, reduce punishment for possession, or fully legalize pot.