We have just about two years of data now on legal, recreational marijuana sales in Colorado. The data shows that Colorado has not seen a rise in drug addiction treatments. The data shows there has not been a rise in crime. The data shows there has not been a rise in prostitution or bankruptcies or drug-related divorces or many of the other things predicted.
That is not to say that data will not come. We are only about two years in. The data is already showing a high rate of underage marijuana usage that is affecting student behavior and education. The data is showing an increasing rate of drug-related emergency room visits. But increases in crime, prostitution, divorce, unemployment and bankruptcy have not yet shown up in the data.
Now consider the objective data on casino gambling. Take out the moral issues, which persuade few people, myself included. I do not think there is really a moral problem with gambling. I have been to Las Vegas numerous times, though I suck at poker. Consider the data from non-casino funded studies. Just about every academic, nonprofit and governmental study shows exactly the opposite of what we are finding with legal, recreational marijuana.
From Britain to France to Canada to the United States, the data on casino gambling shows that casinos outside of Las Vegas correspond to an increase in prostitution, an increase in drug use, an increase in bankruptcy, an increase in divorce, an increase in addiction treatment, an increase in crime, and an increase in unemployment.
Every state that has allowed casinos to come in as a salve for budgetary woes still have their budgetary woes. Atlantic City casinos are going bankrupt. Just ask Donald Trump. Illinois and Louisiana continue to struggle to fund education. All the things casino proponents claimed have been debunked. Only one major claim of casino opponents has been debunked. Casinos do not lead to an increase in suicides — just an increase in crime, divorce, prostitution, bankruptcy, drugs and addiction.
Consider a significant difference between legalizing marijuana and legalizing casinos.