A friend asked, “What are your objectives with regard to both medicinal and recreational marijuana?” Here’s a quick answer.
A long-run objective is good government – to have laws that people will actually obey. Since citizens are to going consume marijuana recreationally, I’d say the law needs to adapt to the citizens, since the citizens won’t adapt to the law.
That’s in line with the view of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., expressed in the foreword to “For Liquor Control”: “law must always be the articulate organ of the desires of living men. Men cannot be made good by force. In the end, intelligent lawmaking rests on the knowledge or estimate of what will be obeyed. Law does not enforce itself.”
Marginalize the illegal market, too, by enforcing laws that citizens will support.
But that’s for the long run.
Between now and then, some other objectives intervene:
Keep the noise down on medical and recreational marijuana. Make the drug available, but tamp down on promotion. Make retailing low-key and discreet, and out of the eyes of kids. If the 1st Amendment won’t allow advertising bans, then keep advertising, celebrity endorsements, and other selling expense tax expenses non-tax deductible (as they are now under federal section 280E and will be under conforming North Carolina tax law).
Keep both the medical and recreational wealth in North Carolina rather than letting out-of-state operators grab the lion’s share (as SB3 would do). Beyond keeping it here, share the wealth here – that is, don’t let rich North Carolinians get it all.
State retailing, via public health departments or otherwise (state delivery or brick-and-mortar retailing), could satisfy those intermediate objectives quickly. But selling via health departments will not smooth the transition to careful recreational legalization.