Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"Is Big Marijuana Inevitable?"

The question in the title of this post is the headline of this notable New Republic piece authored by lawprof Ryan Stoa, which answers the questionwith a "no" and gets started this way (with links from the original):

In November, voters in as many as 12 states will see a marijuana legalization initiative on their ballots. Marijuana is already legal for recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Washington, D.C. Another 25 states have legalized medical marijuana. The era of marijuana prohibition is rapidly coming to a close.

Unfortunately, lawmakers lack easy answers to tough questions facing the marijuana industry.  Legalization presents challenges on a number of fronts, including distribution, taxation, consumption, security and public health.

In a recent article, I argue that the agricultural sector of the marijuana industry also presents a number of challenges.  One paramount question looms over the rest: Will marijuana agriculture become consolidated, with “Big Marijuana” companies producing vast quantities of indistinct marijuana?  Or, will small-scale farmers thrive by producing unique and local marijuana strains?

My research shows that Big Marijuana is not inevitable.  On the contrary, a local, sustainable, small-scale farming future is entirely within reach.

Business laws and regulatory issues, History of Alcohol Prohibition and Temperance Movements, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Who decides | Permalink


“Big Marijuana” is just another scare tactic used by the opponents of marijuana legalization. To the points made in this excellent article I would add:
• With “weed” it’s much easier to “grow your own” than it is with tobacco or alcohol. Lots of people like to do it, and they usually share with friends, which puts a big check on “Big Marijuana”.
• We managed to impose significant controls (albeit not as many as needed) on both tobacco and alcohol, when those industries were at the peak of their power, so we can surely do better with a product that is still very much in the “infant industry” stage.
• And, of course, marijuana is, by a huge margin, much safer than alcohol or tobacco--as even NIDA acknowledges, if you look at their chart of “Commonly Abused Drugs.”

Posted by: Richard Kennedy | Aug 21, 2016 9:52:00 AM

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