Fresh Air recently aired a great interview on the marijuana legalization. It spent a lot of time looking at the medical marijuana regulation in Colorado and how that will be the model for full legalization.
The interview was balanced and informative. (A very rare thing for drug policy discussions.)
He also wrestled with the potential toxic marriage of capitalism and marijuana.
“We’ve seen legalization in two states — that’s the first step toward legalization in other states. That’s a step toward legalization nationally. So you have a third vice industry like tobacco and like alcohol. The problem with that is that 80 percent of the profits tobacco companies and alcohol companies make comes from heavy users. The business model is based on people consuming more than they should. And so there’s a strong economic incentive for big marijuana companies to create as much addiction as possible. And yeah, sure, marijuana is less harmful than Jack Daniels, but it’s not the same thing as safe or helpful in the home or helpful in the workplace, or good.
“And so the long-term worry is that you have sophisticated marketing programs in place, distribution programs in place, that create a double or tripling of the current level of marijuana usage. And … by the way, Americans [already] use marijuana at triple the global average. So we’re talking about a tripling of a tripling, and that’s a big deal. It’s something to think about, which is why many people are in favor of — or I believe will become more in favor of as they realize the risks — of severe limitations on the size of marijuana businesses and the advertising that they can undertake.”
- Legalizing marijuana (pbs.org)
- Burning questions about legal marijuana (bbc.co.uk)
- Legalizing And Regulating Pot: A Growth Industry (npr.org)