State retail marijuana monopoly — Stanford Professor Keith Humphreys 

Here is an edited transcript of part of Stanford Professor Keith Humphreys’s appearance on North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s Webinar series on medical cannabis  in North Carolina: 13’16” mark of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXRI3txu-R4.

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[A] goal a lot of people have is equity — if they want to create an industry, they want to make sure that all groups can participate equally.   One point about that is that if you go forward with any type of legalization, medical or recreational, to consider the option of a state retail monopoly — and you will know what those are because you live in North Carolina.  I grew up in West Virginia; we had a state retail monopoly in alcohol.  North Carolina does as well.

In general retail monopolies (that’s where the industry still produces the product; the state sells it) have a better record of hiring diverse employees than do private companies. I mean that’s one of the striking things I’ve noticed.  I live out here [in California] next to a lot of venture capital firms that finance this industry.  They talk a lot about racial equity but it’s remarkable how almost uniformly white the people who run that industry are.  But state retail monopolies do better than that and that might be a way to promote more equitable employment 

The second point is that our experience with alcohol, of which we have a lot, is that retail monopolies reduce consumption and related problems.  The states that have ABC stores have lower rates of youth binge drinking, automobile accidents involving alcohol, and so on.  So if you decide to go forward a retail monopoly could give you some public health protections as you move the system out across the state.

The last point is that the incentives of profit retailers are to promote a lot and have two for one sales and hype the product and so on, but you don’t have that in a state retail monopoly, so that’s another way to — if you want to go forward — not have some of the costs that come when the when a drug gets linked to the pursuit of profit.

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And here is the unedited transcript of the entire session, with Dr. Humphreys followed by Dr. Steve Wyatt, a board certified psychiatrist and the current chairman of the North Carolina Psychiatric Association’s Addiction Psychiatry Committee, and Eric Sweden, a DWI Program Specialist at the North Carolina Department of Health And Human Services:

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