Legal Marijuana Will Soon Be Coming to a State Near You

Colorado is awash in marijuana money -- legal marijuana money, that is.

According to Governor John Hickenlooper, the state is predicting that tax revenue from the sale of medical and recreational marijuana will reach $134 million for the upcoming fiscal year, far exceeding original estimates.

"It's well on its way to being a billion-dollar industry," Michael Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, told The New York Times. "We went from 110,000 medical marijuana patients to four billion people in the world who are 21 and up."

While Elliott's numbers are perhaps a bit overambitious -- are all four billion people in the world over the age of 21 really going to smoke weed? -- the ongoing experiment in Colorado is proving just how lucrative fully legalized marijuana can be for cash-strapped states.

In the current fiscal year ending June 30, the state is expected to bring in roughly $51 million from the sale of recreational and medical marijuana. For the following fiscal year, that number increases by more than $82 million, nearly 90% of which is expected to come from recreational, as opposed to medical, sales.

These figures greatly exceed analogous estimates in Washington State, where recreational sales of cannabis are slated to begin in June. Budget forecasters there are speculating the industry will add $190 million to the state's tax rolls over the next four years. Like Colorado's initial estimates, however, it seems reasonable to conclude this could prove to be overly conservative.

"Every governor and legislator in the country will be like, 'Hey, check out these numbers,'" a Democratic state lawmaker from Seattle told the Times.

In Colorado, the money will be allocated between regulatory oversight, school construction projects, substance abuse treatment, and drug prevention programs. Most notably, a staggering $40 million is earmarked for the Department of Education's BEST program which is tasked with "helping public schools with a multitude of capital construction needs; from new roofs and boilers, to major renovations and new schools."

As I've discussed before, one of the biggest issues going forward as more states follow Colorado and Washington's lead will be addressing the paucity of financial services available to the increasingly legal marijuana trade.

While Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) have both indicated their willingness to handle official tax revenue derived from the sale of marijuana, neither appears ready to make the plunge into servicing the underlying businesses.

At the end of last year, Bank of America told Washington State officials that it felt comfortable managing its tax proceeds, even though a portion derives from illegal activity under federal law. According to Washington's treasurer, "Bank of America is fine with it."

But more recently, despite positive overtures from the federal government, Wells Fargo is still refusing to offer services to businesses that are actually engaged in the industry itself.

"Our policy of not banking marijuana-related businesses and not lending on commercial properties leased by marijuana-related businesses is based on applicable federal laws," a Wells Fargo spokeswoman told David Migoya of The Denver Post.

It ultimately remains to be seen how this will play out. One thing that isn't as uncertain, however, is that many more states will likely start lining up to take part in this new tax bonanza.

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  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 12:42 PM, billtheexmailman wrote:

    I live in Calif. and such news to an old antique hippy is pretty sweet music to me. Just, please don't( tease) us with such articles. Just let it happen here. It's going to be tuff to ever get er done in this police state, yet there is still hope.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 12:47 PM, bearpaw wrote:

    The real addiction problem is our governments never ending appetite for our hard earned money. We need to address the fiscal irresponsibility of our elected officials and reign in their spending habits!

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 12:49 PM, dimensionless wrote:

    I think they should just allow people to grow their own that way they don't have to pay exorbitant prices or taxes.

    They will also know exactly what they are getting. A lot of the bad effects attributed to marijuana is actually a result of the massive pesticides and fertilizers used currently.

    I would guess that truly organic pot, on a non genetically enhanced plant would be safer and less expensive than aspirin.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 12:52 PM, Sivle wrote:

    At no point will Marijuana ever be "fully legal". How could the Government make money off a plant people can grow in their window? Decriminalized is the term you want to use here.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 12:56 PM, dellman wrote:

    If this were a Democrat the Conservatives would be all over it especially FAUX news. They would be screaming for his resignation. Like Benghazi a next to nothing story that has been blown out of proportion, four killed compared to the made up story about Iraq that has caused thousands and thousands of lives.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:02 PM, PickThisFoo wrote:

    Assuming every state took in an annual revenue of 134,000,000 dollars, 6.7 billion dollars isn't going to dent the National Debt. Suppose cocaine generated a trillion dollars a year, per state, how does that substantiate the legalization of a drug? While it can be argued that the side effects of marijuana aren't as directly noticeable, that's not to say marijuana isn't without side effects or that it has no potential for abuse. I would say it is far too early to say Marijuana is coming to all fifty states. I'm guessing this Sony fanboy thinks his opinion is law about everything.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:05 PM, BitterReality wrote:

    The DEA and other traitorous psychopaths that make their pathetic living by destroying peoples lives over a plant will fight it. They want to protect their assumed right to murder and steal and commit treason against fellow citizens.

    Take the entire DEA agency and put the traitors on trial, anyone involved with pot arrests should be deported or executed.

    Lets face it, only a psychopath can destroy another persons life over a plant.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:10 PM, SELLmtg wrote:

    My Opinion: Buy USEI (its marijuana targets are

    Colorado and Canada). USEI's pps= 0.0069 (as of 2/21/2014) and USEI will go up very high because

    CO is the hottest marijuana market and Canada is also the hottest marijuana markets.

    Please go to Yahoo.finance, key in USEI, and read the news dated 2/21/2014 about its marijuana targets.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:11 PM, slipped wrote:

    your 110% right i can tell some stories i have 21yrs in the FED SYSTEM and the things i seen the FEDS get away with would blow your mind. the are the BIGGGEST crooks on earth.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:12 PM, SELLmtg wrote:

    My opinion:

    Buy USEI ( its marijuana targets are CO and Canada which are the hottest marijuana markets).

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:29 PM, ScooterTooter wrote:

    Well - If the GREAT "Unifier" Obama - is going to fundamentally change (actually Destroy) America - at Least we can be mellow while we're collapsed and taken over by outside forces. Who knows - the Chinese, the Muslims are getting into every crack and crevice of our government > You know some are already in high levels of the White House already.... Oh well ...... Party On Garth.....

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:35 PM, TxDeathRide wrote:

    @Sivle: Your logic is flawless. That's why every American is growing tobacco plants in their windows. If your post had any truth to it, then, the tobacco industries wouldn't be as ludicrous as they are...

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:51 PM, bendriver wrote:

    "Bank of America told Washington State officials that it felt comfortable managing its tax proceeds, even though a portion derives from illegal activity under federal law."

    Bank of America is hesitant because of "illegal activity"....I lol'd

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:53 PM, heffie007 wrote:

    Wells Fargo will not be actively doing any business with anyone in the marijuana industry. Marijuana is still illegal at the Federal level and WF has decided to avoid the issue... My source? I am an employee of WF and this information was just released to employees within the past week.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:57 PM, gimphole wrote:

    Marijuana grown with chemicals will kill you. While the individual nutrient itself may not be harmful the chemical compounds which are created when you blaze a bowl can be poisonous.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:58 PM, WeGods wrote:

    We will have a useless bunch of stoned antiestablishment idiots who when wor comes, they will say "ok dude, I surrender".

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 2:49 PM, bobb1011 wrote:

    In this 100 bil.$ industry. there are a hand full of stocks, now penny stocks that will soar as more states go legal. TRTC , HEMP, MCIG, XTRM, & PHOT Look the best to profit from. these "brick n mortar" stocks. will lead the way.

    I Don't recommend penny stocks. This is a special situation. Buy them as penny stocks. or dow stocks. but there going north. A small wise investment in a basket of stocks may turn out to be wise.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 2:56 PM, Heimdallr wrote:

    "Well - If the GREAT "Unifier" Obama - is going to fundamentally change (actually Destroy) America - at Least we can be mellow while we're collapsed and taken over by outside forces. Who knows - the Chinese, the Muslims are getting into every crack and crevice of our government > You know some are already in high levels of the White House already.... Oh well ...... Party On Garth....."

    #TinfoilHat

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 3:09 PM, darkknyght wrote:

    Perhaps, if we had come to this legalization epiphany during the previous 4 decades, started receiving tax revenue from it at that time, then we may not be in the pitiful shape we are in as a country. Even though I agree with legalizing the substance, I find it a bit too late, especially for the folks that are serving ridiculous prison terms for what is now "legal". The main thing is to educate kids that although this is legal, they should still stay until they have their life's direction figured out. After all, reformed hippies are now running a good chunk of corporate America.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 3:10 PM, tslateone wrote:

    Cool man, far out. Now take 100% of the net taxed income from pot sales, hire additional police, fire, medical personnel and insurance to cover all the liability lawsuits. Net sum ZERO, just a lot more headaches. Brilliant.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 3:52 PM, GaryDMN wrote:

    Its always amazed me that in Holland, where Marijuana has been readily available for decades, that fewer young people try it, than in the USA, where it has been illegal for many decades. The Dutch did figure out it tourist appeal and have profited from tourism, without taxing marijuana itself.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 4:04 PM, GaryDMN wrote:

    The past three (3) Presidents of the United States of America have all admitted to breaking the same law. Can you imaging how many other American citizens have broken the exact same law? Its a law that's being broken millions of times a day, from coast to coast. COMMON SENSE - if a law makes the majority of the population criminals and doesn't have any impact on the citizens that choose not to break the law, should it even exist at all? Who exactly, is it protecting?

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 4:16 PM, RUAWARE wrote:

    Why is there no mention of HR499 when they do these articles? The ultimate gold ring of marijuana legislation is drafted and seeking support. HR 499 The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act would, at the Federal level, downgrade marijuana from a Schedule I controlled substance and place it in the same category as tobacco and alcohol.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 4:27 PM, JePonce wrote:

    Decriminalize alcohol, eliminate enforcement costs, generate billions in tax revenue, and kill 2.5 million each year.

    Prevent criminalizing smoking, no enforcement cost, generate billions in tax dollars, and kill 440,000 each year.

    Decriminalize abortion, eliminate enforcement costs, provide taxpayer grants, generate millions of Democrat campaign coffers.

    Use Obamacare to develop a fat tax, add billions to to tax coffers, watch 400,000 die each year.

    Vladimir Lenin said, "There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience."

    Josef Stalin said, "The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic."

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 4:32 PM, JePonce wrote:

    Is decriminalizing Pot a Fabian approach to decriminalizing much more? Obama just released 8 convicted Crack Cocaine Dealers with his "Fair Sentencing Act."

    Just wondering?

    Once our legal system sought truth and administered justice. Obama advances change. Our legal system now ignores truth, and administers fairness and economic expediency.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 5:16 PM, john442 wrote:

    Lets put another thing to make us crazy in our bodies while driving our cars. Maybe we can DOUBLE the death's by autos!!!!

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 5:49 PM, mediocre wrote:

    Are you saying we will have dopeheads all over the place and many people and places will stink like skunks?

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 7:02 PM, maki000001 wrote:

    I agree, pot will be like other stimulants, crack, cable TV, ect. that pacify the populace, but freedom is freedom. Moderation is the key to all consumption. Greed is the Darwinian answer to gluttony. I just ask the populace to consider the taxation without representation. The state like, any non profit is not permitted to profit from revenues. Yet we see time and time again how they take from Peter to pay Paul, only Paul never sees it, if he even exists. Instead the money finds its way to a prince in Nigeria that claims he has some power to control some geopolitical situation that he in fact created like all racketeers. If the state has leveed too heavy a tax , the tax should be reduced. At best it could be used to replace the lost taxes on fossil fuel sales as we transition to solar to run our cars, homes and businesses.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 7:14 PM, Waldo wrote:

    It will be nice to see another entity besides privately operated prisons making money. And after the initial glee from the freedom to smoke wears off, people will become more like the citizens of the Netherlands as most couldn't be bothered smoking pot.

    Treat it just like alcohol. Regulate it's use. tax it and relax folks. The sky is not falling.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 7:30 PM, bigjohn327 wrote:

    maki,,,pot a stimulant,,,,,,,the politicians will go crazy for the money,,,,but all of the expenses of government will rise ,,,,ER visits, detox centers,,,,car wrecks, all will rise dramatically....and all of the money they get to spend will be spent on the sufferring of people

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 7:33 PM, christopherc719 wrote:

    This guy just posted not to invest in Marijuana yesterday, The Motley Fool. Hmmmm

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 9:15 PM, DKtucson wrote:

    There will be the initial "novelty' period like when you first turn legal drinking age..you drink...you blow your paycheck at the bar and you puke..then you learn that this really isn't that much fun.

    There are 4 indian casinos in town--my wife & I can visit the restaurants there and walk out without dropping a dime in a machine or play the tables.

    Years ago I lived in calif--when the lottery was made legal people were buying the "scratchers" because they could.. after 2 weeks the novelty wore off...in other words, this too shall pass and it won't be the ruination of the country

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 11:44 PM, genecorpus wrote:

    tell me motley fool....what marijuana stocks do you recommend......??

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 12:45 AM, frellmedead wrote:

    Almost as importantly, the state will be saving tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in the prosecution and the jailing of users, growers, and sellers.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 1:05 AM, salfc521 wrote:

    How sad is it when states are looking to marijuana to provide for their funding?? Maybe they should be looking as to WHY we're in the financial crisis that we're in. Well we do have our current federal government to thank for the wonderful example their setting by 'suspending' our debt ceiling. What does that say?! In any case, since Colorado has legalized pot for recreational use there have been a whole host of problems to join us in our openness like increasing child and teen exposure to the narcotic which has lead to INCREASED cases of child marijuana poisoning. Or how about the MEDICAL marijuana shortage now befuddling terminally ill patients and those suffering from serious maladies? Well that's how it was sold to Coloradans right? And what else? Well now our glorious Colorado congress is having to jump through hoops to get marijuana officially tested for contaminants, because currently there are NO state testing measures in place to handle the possible contamination of marijuana. "Murray told CBS News’ Barry Petersen that her labs have found mold, mildew, E. coli and Salmonella." CBS News. Ain't it cool?? At best there is 7% to 10% testing being conducted ONLY by the owners. How about those numbers ay Johnny? Money is not the root of evil, it's the LOVE OF IT.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 1:42 AM, DirtySock wrote:

    1.) Any amount of money gained will be spent down tot he last penny, revenues gained from the decriminalization of marijuana WILL NOT solve any fiscal problems. To do that they would have to cut spending and start spending wisely, that is the one and only cure to fiscal problems.

    2.) Anything organic(alive) once burned puts off massive amounts of poisonous gasses, marijuana is no exception. This is fact people, you cannot get around this, yes, marijuana has the capability to CAUSE cancer just like cigarettes, who's tobacco was once also alive.

    3.) Marijuana is addictive, this is also another fact that you cannot get around. Don't kid yourselves, any argument one can imagine to get around this one just shows how strong the addiction really is. When you make up things or pass around word of mouth or are voluntarily ignorant of the facts of addiction, doing those things are a sign of addiction.

    I smoke regularly myself. I had the opportunity to get sober though many years ago and during this time I was able to learn the REAL truths about marijuana. Does that stop me from smoking it? No. I think it is good to admit the facts though. I would rather be aware of the issues I could have from smoking it than be blithely ignorant of them.

    I am not for decriminalization, I am for legalization only and only of the drug marijuana. Decriminalization is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 1:51 AM, DirtySock wrote:

    I smoke marijuana and in my state, if they put a decriminalization issue on the ballot, I am voting against it. The only issue I will give a pass to is legalization. No! New! Taxes!

    With all the taxing they are thinking of doing, there is no way I will be able to cut costs on my OWN budget. I wont vote to raise the price of marijuana on myself. That is just stupid, and for what? So I can possess and smoke it legally? No, that is not good enough for me, I want it all. I want to be able to grow it in my backyard and share it with my friends and family. Decriminalization does not allow that, legally, I could probably "get away with it", but it won't be legal.

    This whole thing is bogus from the top down. Politicians are talking about revenues, meanwhile they are planning and spending every single cent and not actually thinking about closing the gap. They are decriminalizing and not legalizing so that they can regulate the heck out of it and tax the heck out of it with practically no limits.

    The whole thing just stinks to high heck and back.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 6:12 AM, Opinion123 wrote:

    I am very excited for the public school system in CO. So far $34,840,000.00 will be funneled to their public schools. that is almost $35 million dollars!!! They can do so many great things for those children with $35 million. Think of the field trips, new computers, updated school libraries, additional teachers to lower class sizes. What a glorious day when public education can run just as efficiently as the best private schools. I'm just a Texas teacher dreaming of their possibilities. I also know that at least half of the student population at my school already smokes dope. I am hoping if the drug is finally made legal here, the illegal activity will dry up, and my students will no longer have easy access to this drug.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 7:56 AM, lugmauler wrote:

    what doers the Taliban, law enforcement and almost al world governments have in common? they don't like druggies and they both are the enemy.

    it states in the book of good that you are to love they neighbor.. so being a pot smoker I am not your neighbor? so you don't like me cause I smoke the pot. I'm so glad you're my neighbor. while you are sitting there relaxing by your pool, i'll be right next door fixin up some of them there molitovs every one keeps talking about. hell,, i'll even send one your way just to show how friendly I am. and how much I love you man. got a thought here,,,,, anyone else wanting to start a bank strictly for the marijuana trades? now that I have put that out there remember where you got the info from to do such,,, leave me out and I will sue.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 9:17 AM, alex1010 wrote:

    Please don't bring it in TX!

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 10:12 AM, Sassynana08 wrote:

    I'm all for it IF we eliminate funding for detox centers, rehab and methadone clinics.

    Now, that would be some $$$ saved!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 10:20 AM, sullymichaels wrote:

    I wish the Fed's would move on this & not leave it to the states - thus the big "bank" problem. It would also address the ability to grow your own & the amount you can grow (Colorado 6 plants? Washington not allowed). Of course once it is legal - years down the road - municipalities & HOA's will then be tasked with "garden" laws. I could see it legalized without the ability to "grow your own" as to avoid people escaping the tax, but the reality is even if folks grew their own, most would buy it. My guess is that it will be like homebrewing. Though you can make your own beer, most buy it at stores.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 10:35 AM, sullymichaels wrote:

    @dirtysock,

    "I smoke marijuana and in my state, if they put a decriminalization issue on the ballot, I am voting against it. The only issue I will give a pass to is legalization. No! New! Taxes!"

    SO, you are find being a 'criminal' & believe yourself to be above the law? I guess I find this selfish.

    No one likes taxes, but "sin" taxes on tobacco & alcohol have worked rather well.

    People that WANT to grow & brew their own may do so; I, for instance, make my own beer - over 60% of what I drink I made (no taxes other than sales taxes on the grain). My guess is pot would work the same way; most would buy & use recreational. Some would grow their own. A new wrinkle would be the number of HOAs & city restrictions on growing your own.

    For now, I'll just invest in the companies - after all, that's what I thought "the fool" was about - not all the political discussion, but the investment. If the political discussion is focused on HOW it will AFFECT investments, then fine...

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 10:45 AM, sullymichaels wrote:

    @genecorpus,

    There are many.... (see below)

    @ALL,

    Sorry, guess their isn't an ability to reply to individual posts or email a particular poster...

    (back to tickers: beware the research may not be easy as they are penny stocks & numbers/reporting may be 'hazy') I own modest positions in a few: grhn, erbb, cbis, phot, mwip, endo, mjna, hemp, & puge. Others I've looked at or have limit orders on: afai, entr, fitx... Still more: vtmb, skto, refg, mcig, cann, eaph, mntr, brdt, aegy, fspm, gwph...

    "Good hunting."

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 11:52 AM, scottjackA1A wrote:

    No taxes on mary jane. Vote Libertarian to make this happen. These criminal gangsters republicans and democrats just want to get their cut of the money. So they keep prices high by restricting the amount that is produced. We need well educated writers to get on my side on this. I am sure much better rheteric is possible. You have the duty if you have the I Q. God Bless You.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 12:20 PM, scottjackA1A wrote:

    Vote for Rob Sarvis for govenor of Virginia.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 12:21 PM, scottjackA1A wrote:

    Carla Howell LIBERTARIAN. GARY JOHNSON FOR PRESIDENT.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 12:22 PM, scottjackA1A wrote:

    IOWA ,, Rand Paul for republican nomination for presiden. Gary Johnson for president in main election.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 1:18 PM, scottjackA1A wrote:

    Be Repectful and respect my right of free speech . Guaranteed by the 1st amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. Oh fools Rules . are you calling me a fool . I will not click fools rules because these rules are for fules. Hey ya wanna take a retard test.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 1:24 PM, scottjackA1A wrote:

    I like the way yahoo set this up better.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 1:27 PM, scottjackA1A wrote:

    If you want money for your state just stop sending it to DC. If you get it back it comes with a debt and interest. Even the defense budget should come from your own state. The National Guard is a good idea. Federal money for anything is bad Idea. No more FICA, No more federal taxes. The states can and would do better. Big govt does not work.!!!!

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 2:36 PM, MoTrFinger wrote:

    @salfc521 stop being a dumb person Marijuana is NOT a NARCOTIC NOT NOT NOT educate youself before you put your uneducated opinion online.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 3:18 PM, kellybaxter2552 wrote:

    well apparently they will take their sweet a** time doing ANYTHING to make it legal where I'm at ugh. But it would be nice if they'd get a move on.....

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 7:01 PM, JBuser wrote:

    Marijuana’s Lasting Effects on the Brain

    By: Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of National Institute on Drug Abuse

    Original Article

    September 10, 2012 - We repeatedly hear the myth that marijuana is a benign drug—that it is not addictive (which it is) or that it does not pose a threat to the user’s health or brain (which it does). A major new study published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (and funded partly by NIDA and other NIH institutes) provides objective evidence that, at least for adolescents, marijuana is harmful to the brain.

    The new research is part of a large-scale study of health and development conducted in New Zealand. Researchers administered IQ tests to over 1,000 individuals at age 13 (born in 1972 and 1973) and assessed their patterns of cannabis use at several points as they aged. Participants were again tested for IQ at age 38, and their two scores were compared as a function of their marijuana use. The results were striking: Participants who used cannabis heavily in their teens and continued through adulthood showed a significant drop in IQ between the ages of 13 and 38—an average of 8 points for those who met criteria for cannabis dependence. (For context, a loss of 8 IQ points could drop a person of average intelligence into the lowest third of the intelligence range.) Those who started using marijuana regularly or heavily after age 18 showed minor declines. By comparison, those who never used marijuana showed no declines in IQ.

    Other studies have shown a link between prolonged marijuana use and cognitive or neural impairment. A recent report in Brain, for example, reveals neural-connectivity impairment in some brain regions following prolonged cannabis use initiated in adolescence or young adulthood. But the New Zealand study is the first prospective study to test young people before their first use of marijuana and again after long-term use (as much as 20+ years later). Indeed, the ruling out of a pre-existing difference in IQ makes the study particularly valuable. Also, and strikingly, those who used marijuana heavily before age 18 showed mental decline even after they quit taking the drug. This finding is consistent with the notion that drug use during adolescence—when the brain is still rewiring, pruning, and organizing itself—can have negative and long-lasting effects on the brain.

    While this study cannot exclude all potential contributory factors (e.g., child abuse, subclinical mental illness, mild learning disabilities), the neuropsychological declines following marijuana use were present even after researchers controlled for factors like years of education, mental illness, and use of other substances. Mental impairment was evident not just in test scores but in users’ daily functioning. People who knew the study participants (e.g., friends and relatives) filled out questionnaires and reported that persistent cannabis users had significantly more memory and attention problems: easily getting distracted, misplacing things, forgetting to keep appointments or return calls, and so on.

    Unfortunately, the proportion of American teens who believe marijuana use is harmful has been declining for the past several years, which has corresponded to a steady rise in their use of the drug, as shown by NIDA’s annual Monitoring the Future survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. Since it decreases IQ, regular marijuana use stands to jeopardize a young person’s chances of success in school. So as another school year begins, we all must step up our efforts to educate teens about the harms of marijuana so that we can realign their perceptions of this drug with the scientific evidence.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 11:37 PM, billtheexmailman wrote:

    Hey jbuser----I'm 66 and could care less about my future functioning brain. I'm quite fine as is and pot would be welcome as it was back in 1966 thank you...

  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2014, at 10:57 AM, boboli wrote:

    As always, quick cash has everyone in such a twitter that the long term costs of this magical mystical move to let everyone just dope out as they please are wholly ignored.

    I predict there won't be any less people in prisons, there won't be any money for free schools and education, free health care, free rehab, etc. etc.

    The idea that Utopia will somehow emerge from a society fixated on ego and immediate pleasure reminds me of Rome, among other fallen cultures

  • Report this Comment On March 17, 2014, at 2:04 PM, MurphySteven wrote:

    A former nurse's aide was convicted of murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison for hitting a homeless man with her car and driving home with his mangled body in the windshield. The incident happened after a night of drinking, smoking pot, and taking Ecstasy. After arriving home, the woman parked her car, with the man still lodged in her windshield, and left him there until his death. They complain she is in jail that they were only having fun, that there should be no jails.

    There are many accidents caused by marijuana. Therefore how often do they tell what really happened, it can be proved. The driver of a charter bus on May 9, 1999, crashed and killed 22 people, was fired from bus companies in 1989 and 1996, after testing positive for marijuana, four times. They complain that people discriminate because they presume marijuana is harmless.

    Four children and the driver died when a Tippy Toes Learning Academy van veered off a bustling freeway and hit a concrete bridge abutment. Investigators say the driver, Wesley Hudson, regularly smoked marijuana, and that the kids nicknamed him "Smokey." He was found with 1.9 grams of pot in his pocket at the crash scene. They presume marijuana users make the best drivers for children.

    Marijuana users presume it's much safer than driving drunk - yet suddenly fall asleep after long time being awake, because marijuana and cocaine are stimulants. With Sophistry and Megalomania someone could burn car tire and call it medicinal. Just like with marijuana it magically medicinal.

    They get Marijuana plants, its oil soluble, therefore put it in a tube and obtain a waxy substance with solvent, that becomes more potent like cocaine is more potent after solvents, their blowing up homes

    With this Sophistry and Megalomania their mind is not on the real subject, for example a tobacco smoker would be believed to be a harm to them and others, yet not believe that smoking marijuana is air pollution too - its smells like burning cow manure.

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