How to Avoid ‘Dumb’ Marijuana Legalization (Rehabs: Pro Talk)

By MARK A. R. KLEIMAN | MAY 8, 2014

The majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. Despite that fact, we spend about $1 billion annually to enforce prohibition. So a sensible person should accept that legalization is coming, and concentrate on preventing the larger harm, which is a bad system of legalization.

If we legalize alcohol-style we’ll get a big increase in consumption. The systems being put into place in Washington and Colorado roughly resemble those imposed on alcohol after Prohibition ended; we created a hugely lucrative commercial industry which has consolidated and used its lobbying muscle to further its objectives, which are precisely contrary to the public interest.

Making the same mistake with cannabis would be worse than prohibition. Despite their public relations positions, alcohol purveyors depend on active alcoholics to stay in business. Since 80 percent of alcohol sold is consumed by 20 percent of users, from the industry perspective substance abuse isn’t the problem; it’s the target demographic.

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