August 16, 2010 3 Comments
I really ought to read Mark Kleiman more. Always full of smart arguments. Here he is on why we need to think very carefully about what a legalized marijuana regime would look like:
On the cannabis front, my plea is for a “grow-your-own” policy: consumers would be allowed to cultivate pot for their own use, to give it away, or to join small consumer-owned co-ops to produce the stuff for them. No commercial sales.
“Why not?” demanded several outraged commenters. Why allow use but not sale?
Two words provide the gist of the answer: marketing and lobbying. A legal cannabis industry, like the legal beer industry, the legal tobacco industry, the legal fast-food and junk-food industries, and the legal gambling industry, would do everything in its power to expand its sales, including taking political action to weaken whatever regulations and minimize whatever taxes were imposed…
To the consumer, developing a bad habit is bad news. To the marketing executive, it’s the whole point of the exercise. For any potentially addictive commodity or activity, the minority that gets stuck with a bad habit consumes the majority of the product. So the entire marketing effort is devoted to cultivating and maintaining the people whose use is a problem to them and a gold mine to the industry…
So the prospect of a legal cannabis industry working hard to produce as many chronic stoners as possible, and fighting hard against any sort of effective regulation, fills me with fear. I don’t believe that the actual tobacco companies would enter the cannabis market, but I don’t doubt that the cannabis companies that would emerge from full commercial legalization would have all of morals the tobacco outfits morals, and a less tainted product to sell.
It’s a really smart post. You really ought to read all of it. And while I’m at it, can never hurt to have another plug for his terrific book: When Brute Force Fails.