Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Thursday, July 27, 2017

"Legal weed isn't living up to all of its promises. We need to shut it down"

The title of this post is the headline of this new CNBC commentary authored by Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. Here are excerpts:

Today, a growing class of well-heeled lobbyists intent on commercializing marijuana are doing everything they can to sell legal weed as a panacea for every contemporary challenge we face in America.  Over the past several years we've been barraged by claims that legal pot can cure the opioid crisis, cure cancer, eliminate international drug cartels, and even solve climate change.

One seemingly compelling case made by special interest groups is that legal marijuana can boost our economy too: after all, marijuana businesses create jobs and bring in millions of dollars in much-needed tax revenue.

Yet, a closer look at the facts reveals a starkly different reality.  The truth is, a commercial market for marijuana not only harms public health and safety, it also places a significant strain on local economies and weakens the ability of the American workforce to compete in an increasingly global marketplace.

We already know that drug use costs our economy hundreds of millions of dollars a year in public health and safety costs.  The last comprehensive study to look at costs of drugs in society found that drug use cost taxpayers more than $193 billion – due to lost work productivity, health care costs, and higher crime.

A new study out of Canada found that marijuana-impaired driving alone costs more than $1 billion.  Laws commercializing marijuana only make this problem worse and hamper local communities' ability to deal with the health and safety fallout of increased drug use....

Over the past several months, the Trump Administration has signaled it is considering a crackdown on marijuana in states where it is legal. We don't yet know what this policy change may look like, but one thing we know for sure is that incarcerating low-level, nonviolent offenders in federal prisons is not the answer.  Individual users need incentives to encourage them to make healthy decisions, not handcuffs.

But we do need to enforce federal law.  Indeed, by reasserting federal control over the exploding marijuana industry, we know we can make a positive difference in preventing the commercialization of a drug that will put profits over public health and fight every regulation proposed to control its sale and use.  Marijuana addiction is real, and simply ignoring this health condition will only cost us down the road. We should assess marijuana users for drug use disorders as well as mental health problems, and assist those into recovery.  This can't happen in a climate that promotes use.

Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Who decides | Permalink


I will repeat myself. Botulinum toxin, one of the strongest poisons in the world has 700 medical benefits. Water causes seizures and death if one drinks more than the kidneys can put out. Anyone claiming a benefit or harm of a substance must specify the dose and number of doses.

A review of the dose response curve. It likely applies to all remedies, including legal remedies. Failure to specify dose and number of doses makes a claim hate speech propaganda and dismissed.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 30, 2017 8:14:25 PM

I can think of an example of an empirical dose response curve study of a legal remedy. What is the relationship between the solution rate, the conviction rate and the sentencing and rates of crime. In a historic example, kidnapping was made a federal crime. The solution rate jumped. It got the death penalty. It nearly disappeared as a crime in the US.

In another historical experiment, opiate addiction was high in Vietnam, and alcohol use was prohibited. It affected 15% of soldiers. Upon return, opiate use was prosecuted and alcohol use was allowed. The opiate addiction rate was cut by 95%. The alcohol problem rate soared, including suicide and murder rates in the military.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 30, 2017 8:21:33 PM

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