Marijuana legalization is reaching all-time highs for public support, but some officials still show opposition to the change. U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart, who is in charge of the Southern District of West Virginia, held an invite-only one-day symposium in Charleston.
The event, titled “The Colorado Experiment: A Look Back and What You Need to Know” included guest speaker Bob Troyer, the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado.
Troyer’s presentation included a lot of information on the detriment to state residents following marijuana legalization. Troyer noted that youth use of marijuana increased and work productivity decreased as more workers failed drug tests. Meanwhile, Troyer shared his personal opinion that legalization for medical use is acceptable, as long as appropriate testing is done.
One fact that also came up was that marijuana legalization brought in revenue of $58 million in 2016, while the added costs attributed to legalization came to $23 million. However, that still results in positive revenue of $35 million for the state.
Stuart invited other prominent figures from various career fields and agencies to speak, including a pharmacist, ecologist, the executive director of a non-profit that opposes marijuana legalization and others from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and from Drug Enforcement Administration.
All of the topics covered at the symposium were focused on opposition to marijuana legalization. Topics included concerns about dispensaries that would operate as fronts for the illegal drug trade if legalization went forward, as well as issues that legalization means more positive societal perception and wider acceptance of the drug.
This event was a gathering that is in direct contrast to current societal trends, which include legalization of marijuana for medical use in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Guam and Puerto Rico as well as polls that show as much as two-thirds of current U.S. residents support a move to legalize marijuana across the country.
Even residents in West Virginia have been showing increasing support, as data released in 2018 showed that 67% of residents support legalization for medical use and 34% support legalization for recreational use as well.
Other legislators feel Stuart’s views are a large sticking point in the effort to move forward with legalization in West Virginia. He regularly shares anti-marijuana views on his Twitter account and has filed a lawsuit against a hemp farm located in Mason County.
Stuart, however, maintains the symposium was not focused on a particular view, despite the fact that no speakers were invited who are known to support marijuana legalization.