Drug Legalization Essay Outline

An April report from the RAND Drug Policy Research Center suggested that state governments could monopolize sales and sell marijuana through state-run shops.

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But even when Kleiman and others are consulted by states, their hands are somewhat tied by federal law and simplistic ballot initiatives.

Part of the problem may be how states are choosing to legalize marijuana.

They're making money from the heavy users." Mark Kleiman, a drug policy expert at New York University's Marron Institute who supports a much more regulated form of legalization, has consistently pointed to the commercialization of marijuana as one of his primary concerns with the current model of legalization.

Marijuana companies' "best customers are the problem users," Kleiman said in a previous interview.

But as more states consider whether to take on legalization, the rising industry has become the main target for opponents of legal pot.

"If we're not careful, the marijuana industry could quickly become the next Big Tobacco," warns the website for Grass Is Not Greener, a campaign launched by the anti-legalization Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM).States, for instance, might have a harder time requiring nonprofits or co-ops to sell marijuana, similar to what's being done in parts of Spain and Uruguay.They also might not be able to set quotas or require users to set their own quotas for how much pot can be bought each month, which is a favorite idea of Kleiman's.There are many, many layers to marijuana laws and legalization.There are still major questions about the risks of teen use, whether marijuana really needs to be rescheduled to allow research into its medical use, and how legalization will ultimately affect rates of drug use.Sabet argues that the for-profit incentive might also encourage the industry to market unsafe products as long as there's money to be made.Marijuana-infused edibles, for instance, have turned out to be riskier than many expected, largely because it's much more difficult for a novice user to self-regulate the dose of pot from slow-acting, sometimes shoddily labeled food products.What if Big Marijuana behaves like Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco?With marijuana legalization now voter-approved in four states, a new major industry is beginning to form around selling legal pot for profit.In Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state, voters approved ballot initiatives for legalization.But when advocates put measures on the ballot, they try to keep the language of the initiatives simple to avoid scaring off voters and giving too much leeway to lawmakers who might disagree with what voters choose to do.


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