3 States Mull MJ Legalization Experts Warn: Beware

Jul 17, 2012

Legal­iz­ing mar­i­juana in even a sin­gle state could drive down prices dra­mat­i­cally across the coun­try, encour­ag­ing more peo­ple to smoke the drug, a panel of experts said at a brief­ing Tues­day. Last week, Ore­gon became the third state that will vote this Novem­ber on a bal­lot mea­sure to legal­ize mar­i­juana, join­ing Col­orado and Wash­ing­ton. “Legal­iza­tion is unprece­dented – not even the Nether­lands has done it – it is entirely pos­si­ble it will hap­pen this year,” said Jonathan Caulkins, co-author of “Mar­i­juana Legal­iza­tion: What Every­one Needs to Know.” “The effects will be enor­mous,” said Caulkins, a pro­fes­sor at Carnegie Mel­lon, dur­ing an event at the Amer­i­can Enter­prise Insti­tute. The Obama admin­is­tra­tion opposes legal­iz­ing mar­i­juana and has taken action to shut down some med­ical mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries in Cal­i­for­nia and Col­orado. Caulkins said one of the main rea­sons for out­law­ing the drug is to make it riskier to pro­duce and sell, dri­ving up prices and curb­ing use. A price col­lapse fol­low­ing legal­iza­tion in some states could under­mine mar­i­juana laws nation­ally, the experts warned. Caulkins said Colorado’s propo­si­tion would allow res­i­dents to obtain a grower’s license fairly eas­ily, mak­ing the state a good home for exporters of mar­i­juana. “They would be able to pro­vide mar­i­juana to New York state mar­kets at one quar­ter of the cur­rent price,” he said, pre­dict­ing sim­i­lar price declines in other states. Mark Kleiman, a pro­fes­sor of pub­lic pol­icy at UCLA, said his advice to fed­eral offi­cials would be “to sit down with the gov­er­nor of the state and say, ‘Look, we can make your life com­pletely mis­er­able — and we will – unless you fig­ure out a way to avoid the exports.” One option would be to impose strict lim­its on how much of the drug retail­ers could sell to each cus­tomer. Washington’s pro­posal would present author­i­ties with a dif­fer­ent prob­lem. The state is propos­ing to cre­ate a strong sys­tem of reg­u­la­tions with the aim of prop­ping up prices. Caulkins said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment could strike down the reg­u­la­tions but would leave a free-for-all behind. “The fed­eral gov­ern­ment will face some really dif­fi­cult choices where actions are like double-edged swords,” Caulkins said. Source: Los Ange­les Times (CA) Author: Ian Dun­can Pub­lished: July 17, 2012 Copy­right: 2012 Los Ange­les Times Con­tact: letters@​latimes.​com Web­site: http://​www​.latimes​.com/

 3 States Mull MJ Legalization Experts Warn: Beware

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3 States Mull MJ Legal­iza­tion Experts Warn: Beware

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