If marijuana is legalized, what then?

I’m opposed to drug prohibition for the same reason that I’m opposed to alcohol prohibition, gun prohibition or any other law that can’t be enforced.  The social cost of increased addiction if the law is changed is less than the social cost of mass incarceration of young black men and of the drug wars being fought in Mexico, Colombia and other countries.

Still, I wonder whether the big tobacco companies will start to mass-market marijuana products the way they market cigarettes, and tweak THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, to make it more addictive, the way they did nicotine?  They would not be the only companies to promote an additive drug.

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3 Responses to “If marijuana is legalized, what then?”

  1. whungerford Says:

    If we insist on having only laws that can be enforced, many laws would not meet the test — driving while texting for example. Perhaps a better standard would be that laws have a worthwhile purpose supported by most; there will always be scofflaws.


    • philebersole Says:

      Every law has a worthwhile purpose, at least ostensibly.

      The purpose of alcohol prohibition was to reduce drunkenness and alcoholism. The purpose of drug prohibition was to reduce drug addition. The purpose of proposals to ban guns is to reduce the number of homicides and gun deaths. These are all worthy purposes aimed at real problems.

      Unfortunately, laws achieve their purpose only when a critical mass of the public believes in them and wants them enforced. A law that can’t be enforced results at best in disrespect for law and at worst in empowerment of criminals. A law that a majority of the public will not obey will not be enforced, or will be enforced randomly, or will be enforced only against unpopular persons and members of unpopular groups.

      This was the case with alcohol prohibition, is the case with drug prohibition and, in my opinion, would be the case with gun prohibition.

      I hope a majority of drivers are as opposed to texting while driving as you and I are. Then, and only then, would laws against texting while driving serve a useful purpose.


  2. Ted Wright (@tedwright4) Says:

    As a state legislator, I would suggest that we can keep big tobacco companies from doing what you suggest simply through regulation. We have the ability to require chemical analysis of products as is currently being done in some states that have therapeutic use (medical) cannabis laws. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is…


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