Mj podcast, and questions

Duke Law School Professor Kim Krawiec and I talk marijuana legalization on a 62- minute podcast. 



After we finished, she forwarded some questions from her students.  Here are the questions, and some quick reactions.

— Is it true that the tax revenue from legalized marijuana has gone towards improving public schools in states like Colorado?

Yes.  Initiative drafters have chosen to dedicate revenue to this, that, and the other – whatever they think the public would applaud.  Legislatures have followed suit.

— Has the legalization of marijuana in various U.S. states substantially affected the black markets for marijuana? If so, what does the data say about how black markets have responded?

Yes, black markets are down, though they can hardly be measured. People in Washington and Colorado say the black market is marginalized now.  In the podcast, we discuss California, with legacy overhang in Humboldt County and environs and slow licensing more responsible for the continuation of the black market than taxes.  Anyway, the optimal rate of crime is not zero. https://newrevenue.org/2015/05/29/optimal-amount-of-crime/

— What are your thoughts on the new wave of legalization and decriminalization of marijuana and other drugs in different states in this election?   

The prohibition game is nearing an end.  Like the lottery, marijuana will sweep the nation.

— As the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, what are some of the policy successes and failures in Colorado and Washington’s legalization of marijuana? What can other states learn from them?

Scholars disagree.  My take is:  watch out for the medical marijuana tax loophole, and be careful about how you allow home growing.  But those are just tax lessons, and there are many more lessons.

— What are the pros and cons of blanket decriminalization of recreational drugs (e.g. the Oregon model)?  

I’d need another hour. This kind of state-by-state experimentation is a great advantage for America.

— Would federal regulation, as opposed to state regulation, of the marijuana industry be better?   

I’d let the laboratory of the states play out for now.  We could ask the same Q for alcohol, where there’s a patchwork now. But there are federal standards for purity and safety now for alcohol; without the same for weed, there could be a race to the bottom to help local industry export. 

— Does decriminalization of marijuna “go far enough?” In other words, does decriminalization alone achieve the outcomes you are seeking?.  

The DC model, which stops arrests for possession but disallows legal commerce, allows flagrant illegal commerce in DC.  Now decrim is what we did with alcohol in Prohibition.  That didn’t work, either.


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