Hit & Run

Dishonest Government Report Assumes Marijuana Legalization Has No Benefits

The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area issues another indictment disguised as an objective assessment.



The latest report on marijuana legalization in Colorado from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) includes a column chart that seems to show a dramatic increase in "school dropouts" after state-licensed stores began selling cannabis to recreational consumers. The actual change was about 5 percent (from 10,546 to 11,114), but the chart makes it look like dropouts more than doubled because the Y axis begins at 10,200. As I explain in my latest Forbes column, the tricky chart illustrates RMHIDTA's desperation to show that legalization has been a disaster:

During a debate while running for re-election in 2014, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was asked whether voters in his state had been "reckless" when they approved marijuana legalization two years earlier. "To a certain extent you could say it was reckless," he replied.

Last May, after repeatedly saying he would reverse legalization if he had "a magic wand," Hickenlooper told the Los Angeles Times, "If I had that magic wand now, I don't know if I would wave it. It's beginning to look like it might work."

See if you can guess which Hickenlooper quote appears in the latest report on marijuana legalization in Colorado from the drug warriors at the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA). It's not much of a puzzle. Since suppressing the use of marijuana and other illegal drugs is RMHIDTA's mission, its reports on legalization are indictments masquerading as objective assessments. The same organization that last year falsely claimed public support for legalization had declined in Colorado this year portrays a governor who sounds cautiously optimistic about legalization as unambiguously against it.

The report's treatment of Hickenlooper is of a piece with its one-sided approach, which focuses exclusively on the negative consequences of legalization and exaggerates what we know about them. RMHIDTA likes to present dramatic, seemingly scientific charts that make legalization look like a big mistake. The difficulties of interpreting the data presented in the charts are usually relegated to a footnote, assuming they are mentioned at all.

Read the whole thing.

NEXT: Brickbat: That's Not Fair

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  1. Didn't John Denver write a song about these people?


    1. I hope he sues the hell out of them for copyright infringement. Also, RMHIDTA sounds like a venereal disease.

      1. Governor Hicky-Booper hates pot, just 'cause of this little incident at Woodstock (I was there & I saw it happen!), which is where he made his name for himself.

        The future guv gets "Rocky Mountain High" and then goes up to this guy and tries to give him a hicky, and, of course, gets booped on the nose, fair and square. Hence, hicky-booper... And now Hicky-Booper blames the pot, instead of his own lack of self-control, whereby he can't keep his lips outta other people's pants!

    2. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do... http://www.14earnpath.com

  2. Really? Rocky Mountain High?

    1. That got me, too -- as does "National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)".

      The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program (HIDTA) is an important component of the President's National Drug Control Strategy which provides additional federal resources to those areas to help eliminate or reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences. Law enforcement organizations within HIDTAs assess drug trafficking problems and design specific initiatives to reduce or eliminate the production, manufacture, transportation, distribution and chronic use of illegal drugs and money laundering "reduce drug trafficking & related crime and violence"

  3. To be fair, my spreadsheet automatically started the y-axis at 10,200. You can't expect these busy bureaucrats to have time to change the default settings can you?

  4. The sad thing is most people will see the graph bars and that's what will stick with them. People are stupid.

  5. Dishonest Government Report Assumes Marijuana Legalization Has No Benefits

    If they admitted its benefits, it would discount the entirety of the drug-war and remove one avenue for the gov't to commit acts of violence against peaceful people. We can't have that.

    1. One of the only true things Hillary ever said was when she admitted there was too much money (and power) in the WoD to end it.

  6. Has no benefits??? Tax revenues. What bigger benefit is there than that for politicians?

  7. Nope. Nothing deceptive about that graph.

  8. In the article, you dropped a (sic) on them three times for using "data" as a singular noun. That's pretty pedantic about a usage that is somewhere between controversial and acceptable.

    WSJ and other media have gradually come to accept the singular.

    1. I know, right? I've been using "is" for years and whenever I see "are" it looks wrong.

      1. To me, it just is wrong. Whenever you are talking about data, you are talking about a collective whole; not a bunch of individual elements. On an occasion when you wanted to refer to a specific subset of individual elements, I think it's better to say "these data points" as opposed to "these data". It seems silly to insist on referring to a collective whole in plural when the singular "datum" has virtually no use. And in the cases where it does (things like mapping references points), a plural of datums would be more appropriate.

  9. They just can't stop fighting the 'war on drugs' even tho it's over and drugs won.
    Sort of like a Japanese soldier on an isolated island in the Pacific who never got the news except these clowns just continue to deny the news/truth.

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