Arizona’s governor asked voters to fact-check whether pot is safer than alcohol. So we did.

From The Washington Post:

Arizona is one of five states with marijuana legalization on the ballot this fall, and the state’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, is not happy about it.

Ducey urged voters last week to reject legalization, saying it would exacerbate the state’s existing opioid problem.

“If we want to expand this universe of people that are addicted and abusing drugs, well, you’ll have that chance in November,” he said at a news conference. He added, “I don’t think that any state became stronger by being stoned.”

Ducey cited the “unintended consequences” of legalization in Washington and Colorado, particularly the way marijuana “has infiltrated high schools with brownies and cookies and Pez dispensers and all-day suckers.” A spokesman for Ducey also pointed to reports of newborns testing positive for THC and increases in emergency department visits involving marijuana.

Ducey also challenged the idea that marijuana is a safer substance than alcohol.

“I would check your facts when you say something is not addictive, that something’s safer than alcohol,” he said.

Ducey didn’t give specifics about the relative dangers of marijuana and alcohol, but we here at Wonkblog always enjoy a drug policy fact check, so we’re happy to indulge the governor’s request.

Here’s what the research has to say.

1. Is marijuana addictive?

Short answer: yes. The best available research indicates that roughly 9 percent of people who use marijuana — 1 in 11 — will eventually become dependent on it. Starting marijuana use in your teens roughly doubles the risk of dependency, at 17 percent.

It’s worth pointing out that the study those numbers come from found a similar risk of dependency for drinkers who started in their teens, and higher rates of dependency for drinkers who began in adulthood. And dependency rates for tobacco were higher across the …

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