Just say no to prohibition

This doesn’t make any sense to me. Mark Kleiman argues that pot should be legal to grow and use and give away but not to sell commercially. His reasons? Because it’s bad for you, like beer is bad for you. And because the Marijuana lobby would be really, really bad. (Note, Kleiman does not propose to ban the sale of alcohol and return us to the days of stills and home breweries.)

Kleiman is wrong on many fronts, but mainly he’s wrong because most people who want to smoke pot don’t want to grow it. They want to buy it. And all these people spending money to grow their own aren’t going to give it away to everyone for free, which leaves us with a demand to fill but not nearly the level of supply needed to fill it. The only thing standing between that demand and the supply shortage would be the government. Which, naturally, leads to black markets, drug dealers, confiscation of property by police departments, drug raids, shooting deaths and so forth. Not too far a cry from where we’re at now.

So we have a choice: create a legal market or a new black market.

One of these two markets will exist no matter what we do, because people are going to smoke pot one way or another. The laws we have now don’t prevent this. Allowing home growing but not commercial sales won’t either. Nothing will. This is one vice that isn’t going anywhere and doesn’t really need “America’s marketing geniuses” in order to peddle.

Kleiman thinks all the companies selling marijuana will be like the Big Tobacco companies, with a fierce lobbying arm and a huge monopoly over the market, preying mercilessly on helpless consumers. But that’s not going to happen if we just legalize marijuana and don’t set up regulations which grant these big companies de facto monopolies to begin with. Small growers, like small brewers, will do just fine. And no, we won’t have a bunch of crazed cannabis users at the mercy of Marijuana Inc. Some people will smoke too much pot, but plenty of people already do and many of them quit before their lives are ruined.

A better idea would be to simply not regulate out home growers from the market which is a legitimate concern. Setting up laws which prevent home growing will crowd out home growers and make big corporations much more powerful. Simply opening up the market to both will create a much more level playing field. I think it will actually be extremely difficult for big corporations to compete with local growers – economies of scale be damned, pot smokers enjoy the quality of their product too much – but at least that competition will exist.

Furthermore, I’m much more afraid of violent drug dealers, over-eager SWAT teams, and the whole awful black market cycle of violence than I am about the lobbying arms of a few big corporations which apparently fill Kleiman with fear. I’ll take lobbyists over drug cartels any day.






106 replies
  1. 1
    Erik Vanderhoff says:

    This is a great response to Kleiman. Kudos.

  2. 2
    beltane says:

    What always cracks me up is that it is perfectly legal to grow opium poppies. Next time you’re in a garden center, check out the seed packets carefully; anything variety of poppy classified as papaver somniferum is an opium poppy that can easily be grown and processed to make a potent and addictive narcotic drug.

    But near me they send police helicopters around every fall looking for the evil marijuana, which is the worst, most dangerous plant ever.

  3. 3
    The Other Chuck says:

    One nice thing about cannabis that favors the enterprising home grower is that while it’s pretty fiddly to grow the really potent stuff of today, it’s still hard to screw up in general. It will grow in just about anything — it isn’t called weed for nothing.

  4. 4
    SpotWeld says:

    I wonder if a good step now would be to legalize “home brew” tabacco growers.

    The main issue would be the heavy taxes on tobacco products in the US would probably make small operations impossible.

  5. 5
    Butch says:

    Denver takes in about $7 million a year in sales taxes from the dispensaries since medical marijuana became legal in Colorado. Still, I guess it’s much better to leave it in the hands of the Mexican cartels.

  6. 6
    beltane says:

    @SpotWeld: You can grow tobacco at home. It’s not like the police are out looking for it. The sale of seeds appears to be legal: http://www.horizonherbs.com/

  7. 7
    LindaH says:

    Well, I’m in favor of a bit of regulation on pot. Having a neutral party guarantee quality (the same way alcohol is labeled by its alcoholic content) and that it doesn’t contain cancer causing chemicals due to how it was cultivated makes sense to me. Plus, my state and county are in BIG trouble financially, so throwing on an additional state and sales tax works for me. Frankly prohibition makes no sense to me and I would love to be able to walk into my friendly neighborhood grocery store and pick up a pack of MJ and leave. Or even go to the “State store” for marijuana. That would provide state jobs that meet a pay scale, provide insurance and build up ye old pension funds that the conservatives are grousing about these days.

  8. 8
    BR says:

    The best way to help this to happen is to go here:

    http://www.taxcannabis.org/

    Edit: I should add that the CA proposition is very specific in legalizing home growing.

  9. 9
    Perry Como says:

    @SpotWeld: iirc, tobacco requires much more processing to get to a usable state than weed does. I’m not an expert on either one, but I vaguely recall something about tobacco needing curing, drying racks, etc. Anyone with a closet and some grow lights can produce their own weed.

  10. 10
    Brachiator says:

    Kleiman thinks all the companies selling marijuana will be like the Big Tobacco companies, with a fierce lobbying arm and a huge monopoly over the market, preying mercilessly on helpless consumers. But that’s not going to happen if we just legalize marijuana and don’t set up regulations which grant these big companies de facto monopolies to begin with. Small growers, like small brewers, will do just fine.

    Uh, no. There are already illegal marijuana farms covering acres of public land. Pot is a big business, and will become a bigger business if pot is legalized (and I tend to favor legalization). Economies of scale kick in, and while it is a nice fantasy to think that Ma and Pa Pot Growers are going to show up at local farmer’s markets with little batches of weed, if demand is … high enough … big commercial enterprises won’t be far behind.

    Regulations to get a lot of competitors in the market is one thing, but regulations to keep businesses small is a goofy and unworkable idea, whether it comes from a conservative or a progressive.

    By the way, economies of scale is one of the reasons why you have the city of Oakland contemplating giving the OK to a large factory farm operation:

    If the City Council approves the plan, one Bay Area businessman has already made it clear that he intends to apply for a cultivation permit. Jeff Wilcox, who owned a successful construction firm and has already incorporated as AgraMed, hopes to convert his empty industrial buildings near Interstate 880 into an enormous production facility. He plans to manufacture growing equipment, bake marijuana edibles in a 10,000-square-foot kitchen and use two football fields of space to grow about 58 pounds of marijuana every day, many times the amount now sold in Oakland.
    __
    What caught the City Council’s attention was Wilcox’s projection that he could hire 371 employees and pay at least $1.5 million a year in taxes. Oakland faces severe budget deficits and has already let go of 80 police officers.

    And if you are churning out big batches of pot every day, you have got to market it somehow.

    And no, we won’t have a bunch of crazed cannabis users at the mercy Marijuana Inc.

    No, but intoxication related issues and smokers creating problems for others will still be a problem. And I am just waiting for the fights to break out between pot smokers and the second-hand smoke-is-bad crowd.

  11. 11

    […] in Business, Daily life, Drug laws at 10:57 am by LeisureGuy E.D. Kain, the conservative voice of Balloon Juice: This doesn’t make any sense to me. Mark Kleiman argues that pot should be legal to grow and use […]

  12. 12
    BR says:

    @Brachiator:

    Uh, no. There are already illegal marijuana farms covering acres of public land.

    Isn’t that just one more indication that the current policies are a failure?

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    @Brachiator: Back when I used to go to a lot of Grateful Dead concerts arguments between pot smokers and cigarette smokers over second hand smoke were quite common. There are a lot of very uptight Deadheads out there.

  14. 14
    Joel says:

    I think the optimum approach from a social welfare perspective is to 1) legalize 2) tax 3) stigmatize, much like is done with tobacco currently.

  15. 15
    Michael says:

    I’m still laughing over the notion of home use pot growers getting off the couch long enough to grow pot.

    Kleiman doesn’t understand the mindset.

  16. 16
    Xboxershorts says:

    @beltane:

    I have yet to meet the one’s uptight about smoke. And I’m still going to shows some thirty years later.

    The best grows for personal consumption are the 5 gallon buckets in a south facing windowsill. Just leave the individuals alone. It’s a very conservative position to take.

  17. 17
    izzatxeaux says:

    “Some people will smoke too much pot, but plenty of people already do and many of them quit before their lives are ruined”

    sounds like an existing propaganda/lobbying entity got it done with both Messrs Kain and Kleinman

    “ruined” indeed

  18. 18
    The Other Chuck says:

    I have a prepared argument that completely annihilates all of the pro-legalization positions. This carefully-constructed argument will reach everyone on a rational level, and put to rest all further debate on the issue. In fact, I believe that after hearing this argument, we will move toward stricter prohibition, longer mandatory sentences, and more frequent paramilitary police raids.

    Here is my argument:

    *Children*

    That is all.

  19. 19
    Jack says:

    To be fair, if you were to give Kleinman a choice between total legalization and the status quo he’d choose the former in a heartbeat. And also to be fair, you have to acknowledge anyone sane would choose his plan over the status quo if legalization weren’t an option.

    Allowing small co-op growers to operate will more than likely fill the demand, generalizing from CA’s experience. They just won’t have the kind of unified political power that the alcohol and tobacco industries do

  20. 20
    Cris says:

    Kleiman thinks all the companies selling marijuana will be like the Big Tobacco companies, with a fierce lobbying arm and a huge monopoly over the market, preying mercilessly on helpless consumers.

    Of course this will happen. And that is a stupid reason for making it illegal. It’s the nature of capitalism.

  21. 21
    NonyNony says:

    @Brachiator:

    Uh, no. There are already illegal marijuana farms covering acres of public land. Pot is a big business, and will become a bigger business if pot is legalized (and I tend to favor legalization). Economies of scale kick in, and while it is a nice fantasy to think that Ma and Pa Pot Growers are going to show up at local farmer’s markets with little batches of weed, if demand is … high enough … big commercial enterprises won’t be far behind.

    Exactly. If the demand is there then pot corporations will grow big. If the demand isn’t there, then the whole thing flops and I for one will wonder what the fuck the big deal was with the whole anti-pot drug war regime that I’ve been living under all of my life.

    But I suspect that the demand IS there and it’s likely that the companies that will have the ability to be the first-movers on the whole thing will be the tobacco companies. They already have the infrastructure in place for growing, processing, and distributing the stuff, so any tobacco company that jumps onto the bandwagon will be able to get a large return very quickly.

    And then, of course, will come the health regulations. Because anyone seriously selling the stuff is going to be working to breed stuff that is as addictive as possible (as the tobacco companies did with their product), and so the FDA will be involved pretty quickly. Which will be a pain in the ass for mom and pop at the farm market, but it’s pretty much inevitable.

  22. 22
    beltane says:

    @Michael: Oh, you’d be surprised. High-end cannabis growing is as competitive as any other serious horticultural pursuit. Some home growers combine the traits of wine connoisseurs and rose fanciers.

  23. 23
    Cris says:

    @Michael: I’m still laughing over the notion of home use pot growers getting off the couch long enough to grow pot.

    Now that we’ve had our fun with the “potheads are lazy” trope, why don’t we roll out this same tired joke about how few people grow their own food? And ha ha, people who wear clothes are too lazy to grow their own cotton and spin their own wool.

    @The Other Chuck: Here is my argument:ChildrenThat is all.

    Too true.

  24. 24
    Violet says:

    @Brachiator:

    And I am just waiting for the fights to break out between pot smokers and the second-hand smoke-is-bad crowd.

    Sign me up for this one. I detest smoke and don’t want to be around pot smoke any more than I want to be around tobacco smoke.

    It’s one of the big disadvantages pot has compared to alcohol. You can go to a bar with your friends and not drink, but they can still drink and have fun, and you won’t get secondary effects just from being around people who are drinking. Sure, the drunk idiots might go do something stupid and tragic like drive their car and hurt someone, but that’s another issue. You can stand next to a person who is drinking alcohol and you’ll get zero effects from their alcohol. It doesn’t leap out of the glass and force you to drink it.

    While I’m aware that there are other forms of taking in pot than smoking it, smoking is the most common form. And a person can’t smoke pot next to another person without the second person being near smoke. I understand there are contraptions that work reasonably well to reduce smoke, but they’re not perfect.

    It’s going to be interesting to watch this aspect of the pot legalization fight develop. It’s not like tobacco. It’s similar, but not the same.

  25. 25
    bootsy says:

    While I agree with the overall point, I disagree with the last sentence. Or maybe I just have a different preference. I would say:

    I’ll take marijuana lobbyists over gun lobbyists and prison-building lobbyists any day.

  26. 26
    ajr22 says:

    All this pot talk while I’m at work it not cool. *Day dreams of world where people smoke pot all day at work like Don Draper drinks martinis*

  27. 27
    Scott de B. says:

    I am about as opposed to drug legalization as they come, but I thought Kleiman’s proposals were very interesting and opened the door to possible compromise between drug opponents and drug supporters. I’d certainly accept them as a starting point in negotiations. But many here seem eager to slam the door shut before it is opened.

    One of these two markets will exist no matter what we do, because people are going to smoke pot one way or another. The laws we have now don’t prevent this. Allowing home growing but not commercial sales won’t either. Nothing will.

    And similarly we can choose between a black market for hitmen or legalizing hitmen. The laws we have now don’t prevent people contracting out murder. Nothing will.

    This line of argument simply doesn’t have any persuasive power.

    Small growers, like small brewers, will do just fine

    So you’re saying that legalized marijuana won’t be any worse than the alcohol industry, and think that’s an argument in it’s favor?

    Some people will smoke too much pot, but plenty of people already do and many of them quit before their lives are ruined.

    This, too, lacks any persuasive power. “Sure, some people shoot guns at other people, but many miss! So yay guns!”

    Not to mention that a lot of us happen to believe that any drug use is harmful, whether or not it leads to a “ruined life.”

  28. 28
    malraux says:

    Can we apply the same arguments about how Big Pot would be really bad to Big Corn, and force everyone to be their own farmer?

  29. 29
    Kate says:

    People who smoke too much pot usually just fall asleep. People who drink too much beer will sometimes pass out but usually after getting belligerent/maudlin or drunk dialing or throwing up or Doing something noisy and irritating. Quite often they drive too fast, too also. It’s unusual to hear of a crime committed by anyone with just marijuana on board.

    A long-ago boss went to Hawaii on vacation and never came back. No one knows what happened to him, he was never found but the hotel staff said they warned him against jogging on this particular trail near a commercial pot farm. He was not one to let others tell him what to do. That kind of violence is unlikely to happen if the stuff is legal.

    This 60 year old is voting yes in November.

  30. 30
    Sloegin says:

    A little bit problematical, with the smoking kind versus the industrial fiber kind, but there’s already an agency in place ideally tasked to handle the regs and licensing and taxes that would be involved, and they’ve been around in one form or another just as long as the government has. Weird huh.

  31. 31
    Violet says:

    @Scott de B.:

    Not to mention that a lot of us happen to believe that any drug use is harmful, whether or not it leads to a “ruined life.”

    Do you take aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen? They’re drugs. So’s cold medicine. Enjoy a glass of wine or a beer occasionally? Alcohol’s a drug. Drink coffee? Caffeine’s a drug. Where do you draw the line?

    Pot’s one of those things that lots of people use, you can grow it yourself, and studies show it’s less bad for you than a lot of legal drugs (alcohol, tobacco). It’s weird where we choose to draw the line and why.

  32. 32
    taylormattd says:

    @The Other Chuck: You win the thread, lol.

  33. 33
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Michael:

    Neither does Michael, apparently.

  34. 34
    taylormattd says:

    @Scott de B.: Wow. This has to be one of the most stupid analogies ever written:

    And similarly we can choose between a black market for hitmen or legalizing hitmen.

    Yes, because growing or selling weed is just like murder for hire. Can you be more stupid?

  35. 35
    Janus Daniels says:

    Good points.
    I’d modify, “… take lobbyists over drug cartels any day.”
    The Republican plan gives us both: drug cartel lobbyists who push “anti-drug” legislation to maintain the high profit margin on drug traffic, eliminate competitive start-ups, and criminalize customers to cut complaints.

  36. 36
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    More top posts like this, ED, and people will have to stop mocking you. Which is a shame, since mockery is the coin of the BJ realm. Oh well. A time and place for everything.

    Day dreams of world where people smoke pot all day at work like Don Draper drinks martinis

    Heh. I once worked in that place. It was a very large place with a very large number of offices. Some of the offices had pictures on the wall, which if you looked at them at an angle, showed that they had been taken down, and the glass used as a surface to create lines of powder, and the the pictures then hung back up on the wall.

    Very Large Corporation in a village of Very Large Corporations, household names. In a very conservative neighborhood. Red as they get.

  37. 37
    Cackalacka says:

    I’m just amazed that we’ve wasted 40 years and trillions of dollars to accomodate prude moralizers like Scott de B.

    You wouldn’t happen to work for law enforcement or the prison industry, eh Scott de B?

    Yes, Scott de B, professional violence is EXACTLY like an adult discretely indulging in a bong hit.

  38. 38
    Don says:

    And similarly we can choose between a black market for hitmen or legalizing hitmen. The laws we have now don’t prevent people contracting out murder. Nothing will.

    This line of argument simply doesn’t have any persuasive power.

    Piffle. Putting aside the debate about who is harmed in pot smoking vs who is harmed by being murdered, the persuasive power here is that our prohibition against murder-for-hire largely works. The market for it is smaller and people actually view it as a Bad Thing, unlike pot which is viewed by the majority of people as either no big deal or not worth huge expenses & surrender of civil liberties.

  39. 39
    ajr22 says:

    I welcome our big pot lobbiest overlords!

  40. 40
    TomG says:

    I’m damn close to an anarchist. The idea that government should prohibit or regulate the owning, growing, harvesting, and selling, of ANY plant (or plant part) seems totally absurd. I mean, think about it – who is being harmed ?

  41. 41
    Ethan Hoddes says:

    Also, just how powerful is the tobacco lobby? I mean they haven’t been able to prevent high taxes on their product, vigorous publicly funded campaigns discouraging people from ever using ANY of their product, severe restrictions in many locales on the way in which they can advertise, or the banning of their product’s use from most public places in some very large markets.

    It’s simply not the case that all profitable legal industries have powerful lobbies. Where exactly is the Big Porn, or Big Stripclubs lobby? I know that these businesses are sometimes successful at shaping the law, but they’re significantly hampered by simple social undesirabilabity.

  42. 42
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Violet:

    There is absolutely no requirement to smoke marijuana. There are some wonderful alternatives to smoke…like this really nifty smokeless device:

    http://magic-flight.com/

  43. 43
    malraux says:

    @Kate:

    People who smoke too much pot usually just fall asleep. People who drink too much beer will sometimes pass out but usually after getting belligerent/maudlin or drunk dialing or throwing up or Doing something noisy and irritating. Quite often they drive too fast, too also. It’s unusual to hear of a crime committed by anyone with just marijuana on board.

    I’ve heard this description of the differences between driving impaired under alcohol and pot. A drunk driver will drive right through an intersection with stop sign while a high driver will come to a complete stop and wait for the sign to turn green. Obviously both are bad, but clearly one is way worse.

  44. 44
    befuggled says:

    Is Kleiman angling for a job lobbying for the Mexican drug cartels? Because honestly I think those are the guys who benefit most from marijuana prohibition.

  45. 45
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Scott de B.:

    Not to mention that a lot of us happen to believe that any drug use is harmful, whether or not it leads to a “ruined life.”

    Gosh, thanks for looking out for those of us who want to put stuff you consider to be harmful in our own bodies. I mean, we just can’t be trusted with those kind of decisions.

    I’m going to go out and order a double quarter pounder and large fries right now, and I’ll hope to see you a minute or so later yanking that disgusting, unhealthy sandwich out of my hands before I have a chance to pollute my own body with it. Thanks again for taking care of us.

  46. 46
    Brachiator says:

    @Scott de B.:

    And similarly we can choose between a black market for hitmen or legalizing hitmen. The laws we have now don’t prevent people contracting out murder. Nothing will. This line of argument simply doesn’t have any persuasive power.

    Bad argument. Bad! Bad!

    Pot smoking doesn’t involving hurting anyone or involving anyone but the pot smoker. Now, if the topic had been about whether or not terminally ill people should be able to openly contract for someone to put them out of their misery, you might have something comparable.

    So you’re saying that legalized marijuana won’t be any worse than the alcohol industry, and think that’s an argument in it’s favor?

    It’s not an argument against. It’s totally phony to suggest that we have all the bad industries that we can sustain and that new ones will crash society.

    One question here concerns the amount to money we spend prosecuting and imprisoning people for smoking pot and whether it accomplishes anything.

    Not to mention that a lot of us happen to believe that any drug use is harmful, whether or not it leads to a “ruined life.”

    Your belief that pot use is harmful can be and has been tested and has shown to be largely false. Now what?

  47. 47
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Brachiator:

    Actually Brach, his belief in the harmful side affects of MJ is as meaningless as the ginned up Mosque bullshit.

    Scott’s concerns, even the completely fact free ones, have zero value or influence in my life.

  48. 48
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    And similarly we can choose between a black market for hitmen or legalizing hitmen. The laws we have now don’t prevent people contracting out murder. Nothing will. This line of argument simply doesn’t have any persuasive power.

    I get it. Taking a hit off a shorty is the same thing as hiring a hitman to commit murder.

    Now that you explained it, your position makes a lot of sense.

    ( rolls eyes )

    Jesus, WHERE DO ALL THE MORONS COME FROM

  49. 49
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    Your belief that pot use is harmful can be and has been tested

    Obviously Reefer Madness has fried your brain.

  50. 50
    Michael says:

    @Kate:

    People who drink too much beer will sometimes pass out but usually after getting belligerent/maudlin or drunk dialing or throwing up or Doing something noisy and irritating.

    You act like drunk dialing is a bad thing. I’m sure that every time I did it, it was welcome, and that the object of my spurned affection appreciated being told of my undying love and regrets over not being a better person….

  51. 51
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    any drug use is harmful

    Not necessarily more harmful than drinking whole milk, or consuming a lot of high fructose corn syrup, or eating an entire large bag of pretzels at work every day.

    Fuck off, man. Your spooftroll is weak.

  52. 52
    HyperIon says:

    @beltane wrote:

    What always cracks me up is that it is perfectly legal to grow opium poppies.

    I saw a guy on CSPAN this am talking about drug policy. (Abstract from website: Recently retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James Gray talked about what he believes is the failure of current drug prohibition policies.) He was really good. He happened to mention that there were poppies at Monticello until word got out. Then someone came and removed them. I feel so much safer.

    I also don’t get Kleinman’s point about selling pot commercially. But Gray was on the same page with him vis a vis the idea that drug courts work and that the threat of incarceration should be used to channel folks arrested for possession into these programs.

  53. 53
    Ruckus says:

    @The Other Chuck:
    If you are going to make the argument that the risk to children should stand in the way the same logic would apply to anything with risk.
    1. Automobile
    2. Tobacco
    3. Food
    4. Sex

    The world is a dangerous place. Every one living dies. If there is no enjoyment in the living, why bother?
    People already smoke pot. Get over it.
    Prohibition didn’t work for booze, hasn’t worked for pot, or most other drugs. Humans just don’t roll that way.

  54. 54
    Nimm says:

    I dunno if Kleinman really believes his own argument.

    I you read the article with the assumption that he just thinks he’s found another incremental “compromise” step to make the reality of legalization a gradual and politically palatable process, it makes a lot more sense.

  55. 55
    HumboldtBlue says:

    Umm … I’m just sayin’, but the latest crop from up thisaway is fucking awesome.

    That is all.

  56. 56
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ethan Hoddes:

    Also, just how powerful is the tobacco lobby? I mean they haven’t been able to prevent high taxes on their product, vigorous publicly funded campaigns discouraging people from ever using ANY of their product, severe restrictions in many locales on the way in which they can advertise, or the banning of their product’s use from most public places in some very large markets.

    The succeeded in delaying most of those regulations for decades. People believed that tobacco was harmful at least 400 years ago, and there was scientific evidence proving that it caused lung cancer about 50 years ago. Really strong regulation of tobacco is much more recent, mostly because the tobacco lobby fought it tooth and nail. And, considering that tobacco causes hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths every year for no tangible benefit, it’s a testament to the power of the tobacco lobby that it’s still legal at any level.

  57. 57
    matoko_chan says:

    What are you doing here Kain?
    If you hate your base and have nothing in common in with them, then just leave.
    You wont talk about abortion or teabagger racism, where apparently you DO share common sentiments with your base….
    stand and deliver or GTFO.

  58. 58
    Sarcastro says:

    Not to mention that a lot of us happen to believe that any drug use is harmful, whether or not it leads to a “ruined life.”

    Hey, you don’t want to take aspirin that’s fine, but please don’t inflict your Christian Science stupidity on me.

  59. 59
    licensed to kill time says:

    I have absolutely zero faith that anything other than a complete takeover by Big Tobacco (production/advertising) and government (taxation/regulation) will occur if pot is legalized. Too much money involved. If we peons are allowed little pot patches in our backyards I will be shocked, just shocked.

  60. 60
    Brachiator says:

    @Nimm:

    If you read the article with the assumption that he just thinks he’s found another incremental “compromise” step to make the reality of legalization a gradual and politically palatable process, it makes a lot more sense.

    The problem is that he is arguing for home grown pot. This isn’t really a compromise. There is a vibrant, if illegal, commercial pot industry. If and when you legalize it, it is dumb to think that the commercial market will magically disappear or yield to small mom and pop operations. Or that you can put sufficient regulations in place to restrict the market to small time operators.

    A colleague just mentioned some of the news stories where authorities discover that a private residence has huge electric and water bills and uncover an entire home converted into a pot greenhouse. This is already far beyond a small mom and pop operation.

  61. 61
    Joel says:

    @Scott de B.:

    Not to mention that a lot of us happen to believe that any drug use is harmful, whether or not it leads to a “ruined life.”

    I assume that means you avoid mushrooms (aflatoxin and mycotoxin), nutmegs (myristicin), chocolate (theobromine), cheese (tyramine), coffee and tea (caffeine), conventional produce (organophosphates), non-organic meat and dairy (growth hormone, antibiotics).

    If all “drug” consumption is harmful, so is virtually all food consumption, since that’s how drugs were discovered in the first place.

  62. 62
    Lirpa says:

    @Scott de B.:

    Sorry, but comparing adults consuming pot and hitmen or guns? Let’s see, hitmen KILL OTHER PEOPLE, guns can be SHOT AT OTHER PEOPLE, and pot is one person letting his own mind wander freely and freakily. Yeah, that seems pretty equal. It reminds me of the “argument” against same sex marriage, that next people will want to marry animals. There is such as thing as drawing a line between harming others who cannot/do not give consent for the harm and one person choosing to harm themselves with pot or alcohol.

  63. 63
    Draylon Hogg says:

    If it was legalized the black market would still run in parallel. Because they wouldn’t mass produce skunk for health reasons as the THC content is far too high, and medical research shows if you smoke a lot of the high THC variety before around age 20 it can affect the still developing brain and lead to psychosis. Not something that occurs with the lower THC, higher cannaboid content common or garden variety.

  64. 64
    Throwin Stones says:

    @HumboldtBlue: Braggart ;)
    Wish we could visit some of our clan in NorCal about now.

  65. 65
    Scott de B. says:

    Do you take aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen? They’re drugs. So’s cold medicine. Enjoy a glass of wine or a beer occasionally? Alcohol’s a drug. Drink coffee? Caffeine’s a drug. Where do you draw the line?

    I think addictiveness is the key.

    Yes, because growing or selling weed is just like murder for hire. Can you be more stupid?

    I was using a metaphor to make a point. Yes, we can’t completely stop people from using drugs, any more than we can stop any other crime. Yet we continue to pass laws making things illegal. Why?

    Gosh, thanks for looking out for those of us who want to put stuff you consider to be harmful in our own bodies. I mean, we just can’t be trusted with those kind of decisions.

    If you are addicted, then you’ve given up the ability to make a decision, no?

    I don’t feel any particular compulsion to gamble. Yet some people, when given the opportunity to gamble, do so to the detriment of themselves or their families. I don’t think the state should be in the business of profiting from such people, nor do I think they should be incentivized to encourage people who might have a problem. Same applies to drugs.

    If my co-worker is highly allergic to peanuts, I don’t bring bags of peanuts to work. I choose to forego the small pleasure of eating peanuts at work in order to avoid exposing him to something that is harmful to him. Yes, it’s an infringement on my freedom, but it’s a tradeoff worth making.

    My attitude towards drugs is similar.

    Your belief that pot use is harmful can be and has been tested and has shown to be largely false. Now what?

    Using pot isn’t addictive? It doesn’t make you stoned? Both of those are a positive harm.

    Hey, you don’t want to take aspirin that’s fine, but please don’t inflict your Christian Science stupidity on me.

    I happen to be an atheist, but thanks for jumping to conclusions.

  66. 66
    Nimm says:

    @Brachiator:

    What he’s proposing is a compromise, because it isn’t currently lawful to grow or possess pot (medical card-carriers excepted).

    I agree with you and Kain – it’s not a compromise that really makes sense, for obvious reasons. But after reading the full article and the comments afterwards, I didn’t feel that Kleiman himself believed it. It made a lot more sense as a proposal for the next stepping-stone waypoint on the road to a more sane policy.

    If you happen to think that legalization and regulation is more likely to happen through incremental moves (a la medical exceptions), this is the sort of next step you’d argue for. Or maybe you just like to sound reasonable and sensible without really thinking things through….

  67. 67
    Nimm says:

    @Scott de B.:

    I think addictiveness is the key.

    And that depends on how you define “addictive.” Are you talking about the definition that says something is “addictive” if it causes withdrawal symptoms in its absence? (i.e., your body literally and physically needs it to maintain its normal state)
    If so, then you shouldn’t have a problem with marijuana. In heavy users, going cold turkey might cause irritability, runny noses, or even insomnia! The horror!

    In contrast, cocaine withdrawal symptoms can include DTs and nausea. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include DTs, coma, and…heart failure and death.

    On the other hand, if you define “addictive” to mean some variant of “people end up doing it a lot,” then we’re back to square one, as to why we shouldn’t treat caffeine or chocolate the same way.

  68. 68
    Ruckus says:

    @Scott de B.:
    Using pot isn’t addictive? It doesn’t make you stoned? Both of those are a positive harm.

    You really want to bring this here?
    Let’s see one scientific study that shows pot is addictive. I’ve looked, have you?

    Stoned.
    Oh Noooos! End of the known universe. What a pompous prick, are you 12?

    And BTW just so you don’t think I’m a stoner. Last hit was in 1984, I drink very moderate amounts, average less than one a month. I am not on any prescription medication and I take ibuprofen as necessary for arthritis and headache.
    But that doesn’t give me the right to tell anyone else they can’t or shouldn’t. And it doesn’t give you that right either.

  69. 69
    Shinobi says:

    @Scott de B.:

    Using pot isn’t addictive?

    Actually, it isn’t. Not say in the same sense that alcohol is.

    For someone who is addicted to alcohol or barbituates going cold turkey could actually kill them. For someone who smokes marijuana on a regular basis, going cold turkey will make them pretty grumpy and probably bored.

    Marijuana can be HABIT FORMING yes, but not addictive. In terms of becoming physically addicted to the substance research indicates that alcohol is much more dangerous. Nicotine and caffeine are probably both more addictive substances than marijuana.

  70. 70
    malraux says:

    @Scott de B.: So you plan on cracking down on the coffee pot at work then? Caffeine is clearly addictive. Advil can be addictive. Nicotine had one of the most powerful cravings I’ve ever felt, and that was after only ever smoking one cigar (it was a cuban though).

    Pot though never had any sort of addictive effect.

  71. 71
    Scrooge McDuck says:

    Wow, what a bunch of grumps!

    Now, if only I could think of something that might mellow everyone out…

  72. 72
    Scott de B. says:

    And that depends on how you define “addictive.” Are you talking about the definition that says something is “addictive” if it causes withdrawal symptoms in its absence? (i.e., your body literally and physically needs it to maintain its normal state)

    From my perspective, if someone has such a strong urge to use it that they will risk losing their job or going to prison rather than abstain, that’s close enough for me. Not everyone who uses is engaging in principled civil disobedience.

    So you plan on cracking down on the coffee pot at work then? Caffeine is clearly addictive. Advil can be addictive. Nicotine had one of the most powerful cravings I’ve ever felt, and that was after only ever smoking one cigar (it was a cuban though).

    The dangers of nicotine are well known. Caffeine I think is used far too freely, and deserves careful study.

    But let me simply state: I am not wedded to a system focused on punitive measures. I will support any system that has as its object the reduction in the use of illegal drugs (or whatever harmful substance). Barring that, I’d accept a system that doesn’t provide a profit incentive for motivating people to use the substance.

    However, the motive behind most legalization efforts seems to be to grant people the freedom to toke up whenever they want to. Sorry, but I can’t support that.

  73. 73
    Ruckus says:

    @Scrooge McDuck:

    Maybe I need to start again.

    Let me see if I can get permission from Scotty.

  74. 74
    malraux says:

    @Scott de B.:

    However, the motive behind most legalization efforts seems to be to grant people the freedom to toke up whenever they want to. Sorry, but I can’t support that.

    Because? You not liking something seems like a strange reason to infringe on others liberty.

  75. 75
    Ethan Hoddes says:

    Of course they’re not powerless, but this is working from an early established position of being a part of daily life as well established as alcohol. Sure they slowed some of this stuff down. However it got there though, I don’t think the tobacco market as it currently stands is a particularly terrible model for how to deal with a harmful, but addictive and pleasurable, product, and I doubt that a a marijiuana industry that would have to form itself before even lobbying for anything would be able to negotiate a better position.

  76. 76
    Throwin Stones says:

    @Scott de B.: Ain’t it nice you think you know what I should or shouldn’t put in my body. You must be one wise fellow.

  77. 77
    malraux says:

    I am not wedded to a system focused on punitive measures. I will support any system that has as its object the reduction in the use of illegal drugs (or whatever harmful substance)

    Nitpick, if pot were legalized, then obviously the use of illegal pot would go to nil. Also the then legal pot shouldn’t be in the harmful category by any reasonable standard, so its not like it would fit that category either.

  78. 78
    Brachiator says:

    @Nimm:

    If you happen to think that legalization and regulation is more likely to happen through incremental moves (a la medical exceptions), this is the sort of next step you’d argue for. Or maybe you just like to sound reasonable and sensible without really thinking things through….

    I’m looking at it from a California perspective. We already have medical marijuana and a November ballot initiative to legalize pot.

    And because there is already a market and distribution channel for illegal weed, if it were to be legalized at both the federal and state level, attempts to restrict sales to mom and pop level ventures would quickly yield to reality. Or a parallel black market would quickly pop up.

    So, whether or not Kleiman believes his own argument, I don’t think the incremental path he suggests holds much merit.

  79. 79
    Nimm says:

    @Scott de B.:

    However, the motive behind most legalization efforts seems to be to grant people the freedom to toke up whenever they want to. Sorry, but I can’t support that.

    Seems to me that the cost to society from prohibition is a far greater harm than people getting a temporary euphoria which, as we know now, is a substantially lower public health hazard than many other legal behaviors.

    You have to investigate, arrest, and prosecute. All of which costs time, money, and carries an opportunity cost. If you send the smoker to prison, that is a very expensive proposition. If s/he had a job, you’ve turned someone that was contributing to the tax base into someone that is draining it. Heavily. You also may be breaking up a family, pulling mothers and fathers away from children (and unless you think it’s a good idea to put every child in foster care after mommy or daddy has a few cocktails, this is not a justification for taking someone’s parents away).

    I don’t believe that pot is enough of a public health threat to justify these costs.

  80. 80
    Robert Waldmann says:

    First I think that Kleiman would like to ban commercial sales of alchohol. I’d guess he believes that a feasible level of repression of commercial alchohol sales combined with perfectly legal home brewing would be better than the current system. Sure people want to buy not brew their own (I am writing under the influence of a 400cc legal bottle of beer and more than my fair share of a legal bottle of wine).

    He might oppose brew your own.

    Home brewing might be dangerous (I wouldn’t know) but home grown Marijuana isn’t.

    Also there is hysteresis (path dependence). It is easier to prevent the development of marijuana bars (called coffee shops in Amsterdam) than to eliminate bars (where everybody knows your name).

    Notably, some states have a monopoly on alchohol sales. People don’t buy on the black market. They pay a monopoly rent to the state, because, while repression isn’t 100% efficient, it isn’t chopped liver.

    You assert that current tobacco companies are “monopolies” (I’ll let the contradiction in terms pass for now) which exist because of government regulation. You made a specific claim and yet present no evidence whatsoever. I know the cigarette industry as the classic case of a very high minimum efficient scale and a key case in which imperfect competition is the automatic consequence of technology. I have no idea what regulations you consider responsible for the concentration of the tobacco and tobacoo products industry. Your post depends crucially on the assertion that without the evil state, the industry wouldn’t be so concentrated.

    I generally have a low opinion of assertions made without any trace of evidence. Honestly, I don’t doubt that you have evidence in mind, but I strongly strongly object to making the assertion based on evidence which you don’t share with your readers.

    To be frank, if I didn’t assume that you were a completely different sort of contributor to the debate than Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin I would have found no evidence for that view (which I hold with great confidence) in this post.

    The rude part with which I began my comment follows. I move it down here hoping to poison the well only after people have drunk from it. I do think that, despite the rudeness, the following is of some potential use.

    I have a friend whose hatred of the communist party of the soviet union was unsurpassed (I think). He was an emigre who once denounced Truman for Truman’s failure to drop an a-bomb on my friend’s home town. One of the proofs he gave that communism destroyed peoples brains is that communists wrote about competing monopolies. Anyone familiar with the meaning of the prefix mono must know that there can be only one monopoly.

    Now I find someone whose grasp of economic terminology is similar to Trofim Lysenko’s understanding of genetics. Tobaco componies aren’t monopolies. They are oligopolists in an oligopoly. This is not a debatable point. The post contains an elementary error.

  81. 81
    HyperIon says:

    @licensed to kill time wrote:

    If we peons are allowed little pot patches in our backyards I will …

    have my yard repeatedly invaded and denuded of plants.

  82. 82
    MattR says:

    @Scott de B.:

    From my perspective, if someone has such a strong urge to use it that they will risk losing their job or going to prison rather than abstain, that’s close enough for me.

    However, the motive behind most legalization efforts seems to be to grant people the freedom to toke up whenever they want to. Sorry, but I can’t support that.

    You’ve got it figured out. What the marijuana advocates really want is the freedom to walk into your house and blow a bong hit into your infant child’s face. Your comments are so full of straw that there is no way to seriously reply. There are people who have such a strong urge to attend sporting events that they are willing to lose their job and/or face arrest. Should those be banned as well.

  83. 83
    Shinobi says:

    @Scott de B.:

    From my perspective, if someone has such a strong urge to use it that they will risk losing their job or going to prison rather than abstain, that’s close enough for me. Not everyone who uses is engaging in principled civil disobedience.

    So wait… Is blogging a drug? because I’d rather lose my job and go to prison than be prevented from reading a ton of random stuff about politics on the internet. Just sayin.

    I don’t think it is the government’s responsibility to prevent individuals from behaviors that might harm them. If it were then no one would drive, skydive, bungee jump, horseback ride, walk, run, ride bikes, eat at mcdonalds or live in my neighborhood. While it certainly sucks that some people can’t gamble, taste alchohol or try marajuana without becoming dependent on it, does that mean that everyone else is obligated to go without because some people can’t control themselves?

    People have a right to make their own mistakes, and they are going to, laws or no laws. No matter what we do someone will find a way to fuck up their own lives and the lives of those around you. Never underestimate the human capacity for stupidity.

    I don’t understand why responsible individuals have to be penalized because some people are idiots. Isn’t it bad enough that I have to look at “Hot Coffee” warnings everywhere?

  84. 84
    Scott de B. says:

    Because? You not liking something seems like a strange reason to infringe on others liberty.

    It’s not a matter of mere personal disapproval. I happen to think that illegal drug use, taken as a whole, is very damaging to society. I would put it below murder and rape in terms of total damage caused in aggregate, but not much below that.

    I don’t think this is the place for me to go into my reasons; to be frank, I don’t think they would persuade you. The reason I posted is to 1) remind people that there are lots of Democrats who oppose drug legalization, and 2) to discuss Kleiman’s proposal as a possible compromise between those who want certain drugs legalized and those, like me, who want their use to be curtailed as much as possible.

    I’m happy to agree that our current system does not do a very good job at discouraging drug use. However, I also feel that a system that would result in private corporations and the state having a financial stake in keeping drug use as high as possible (as would result from a regime of legalization and taxation) would do a worse job. If there is a happy medium, something like Kleiman’s proposal might be it.

    I don’t believe that pot is enough of a public health threat to justify these costs.

    Fair enough. But let’s take a hypothetical. Let’s say with a wave of your hand you could render Cannabis sativa extinct. Poof, no more marijuana use. Would you do it? The issue is dealt with at absolutely zero cost.

    Folks who think drug use is a bad thing would say sure. But I think lots of those who favor legalization wouldn’t. For them it’s not a matter of the costs of prohibition outweighing the benefits. For them, there are no benefits. And it’s obviously going to be harder to find a middle ground with such people.

  85. 85
    Scott de B. says:

    I don’t think it is the government’s responsibility to prevent individuals from behaviors that might harm them.

    But surely there’s a point at which the state does have an interest in the question. Would you legalize morphine? Cocaine? Methamphetamines?

    Let’s take another hypothetical: A new drug is introduced that gives the user a temporary feeling of bliss, but renders those who use it permanently infertile. There are no other negative effects.

    Would you put any regulations on the use of such a drug? What percentage of the population would have to be users in order for the state to have a compelling interest?

  86. 86
    Draylon Hogg says:

    See I think drugs have done some good things for us. If you don’t think drugs have done good things for us then do me a favor. Go home tonight and take all of your records,tapes and all your CD’s and burn them. Because, you know all those musicians who made all that great music that’s enhanced your lives throughout the years? Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreal fucking high on drugs, man.

    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is mearly energy condensed through a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, life is only a dream and we are the imaginations of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.

    William Melvin Hicks

  87. 87
    JamesC says:

    Honestly, I’m curious – what were the legislative changes that allowed for the rise of small-scale microbrews? You know, the ones that’ve gone a long ways towards disproving the decades-old American beer reputation of being very much like lovemaking on a canoe?

    I recall a friend and brewing enthusiast noting that the foundations were laid by the Carter administration. I’m wondering if a bit of careful legislating and lobbying can’t ensure the same or similar framework for smallscale pot growers?

    I’m also tepidly anticipating the potential of said friend experimenting with mixing both beer and weed if/when it gets legalized. His stuff’s good, but…

    As for the above arguments re: illegal drugs bad… heh. I’d advise checking out Californian imprisonment stats in relation to nonviolent crimes /especially/ in relation to drugs. Even marijuana. And correlate it with the rather drastically awry ethnic representation in said jails. /Some/ drugs can do some mighty nasty things to the individual, but its legalization open a formerly closed doors towards some mighty /good/ things for society as a whole.

    Careful regulation and nuancing is needed, and will probably take decades to properly polish… but since when has it not?

  88. 88
    Ruckus says:

    @Scott de B.:

    Ahh, we have achieved blogging bliss.

    Scott is now changing his whole weakass argument because he has nothing. It’s called redirection, the old magician’s trick. Look over there, it’s something else bright and shiny.

    Scott we were discussing pot, mj, marijuana, weed. You have brought nothing to the argument. Nothing. Nothing but your own parinoia about drugs. You don’t want to do drugs? Great! I don’t either. You ask if society wouldn’t be better without drugs, yet you offer no alternative, other than suck it up. So what is your actual point? Pot is readaly available now. There are people who probably abuse it. Acholol is widely available now, there are definatly people who abuse it. Nicotine and many other drugs are available now, and people abuse them. Hell almost all the spam I get is about pills that give me an erection, or one that lasts a lot longer. These pills were for men who can’t get an erection at all due to cancer and other malidies. Do you think that anything over a minority of the users can’t get it up naturally? People take drugs. And I don’t need a link to know that.
    Nothing stops this, not wishing, not first ladies programs, and not laws. Nothing. So let’s quit kidding ourselves and stop fucking up so many peoples lives. They can do that on their own.
    To answer your post, why would you want to stop the use of this drug? It sounds like a much nicer procedure than a vasectomy. Drug companies have been looking for this drug for a long time. They figure to rake in billions from it.

  89. 89

    @Draylon Hogg:

    I disagree. High-potency pot would be sold by small entrepreneurs who would specialize in quality pot.

  90. 90
    Arclite says:

    @Don:

    There’s this difference too:

    Taking a bong hit stimulates the brain in similar ways to s3x and exercise. We’re almost programmed to seek out and smoke weed at a basic level.

    We are very much programmed against killing other human beings. Well, most of us are.

  91. 91
    JamesC says:

    @Arclite:

    Somewhat fallacious. It’s more that THC triggers a psychosomatic effect similar to rigorous physical activity than it is that we evolved for it. That’s more happy coincidence than divine providence.

    And we do have an instinct to kill others. It’s called the “fight or flight” response. In a situation of necessary resource scarcity one’s own survival has a tendency to outweigh concern for others. It’s the blessing of sentience that allows us to decide whether or not this is a good thing in the long term.

  92. 92
    Mark Kleiman says:

    It’s really tiresome to be criticized for view you don’t hold. Here’s what I wrote (emphasis added for the hard-of-reading):

    On the cannabis front, my plea is for a “grow-your-own” policy: consumers would be allowed to cultivate pot for their own use, to give it away, or to join small consumer-owned co-ops to produce the stuff for them. No commercial sales.

    So no, I don’t propose making everyone who wants to smoke pot grow his own garden; you could always join a co-op, or get yours from a friend who either belongs to one or grows the stuff. Given the high costs of running an illegal business, the black market just couldn’t compete with the legal co-ops.

    Now, if someone wants to criticize that proposal, go ahead. But all the “anti-prohibitionists” seem to prefer pounding on a straw man.

  93. 93
    Ruckus says:

    @JamesC:
    Arclite is right. We are “programed” not to kill. Our natural instinct is to kill to survive, no questions asked. Societies have taught or programmed us not to kill and to understand the wrongness and to see this as unnecessary. We hire people and train them to make this decision when there is no other choice. Of course being human this doesn’t always work out so good but the spirit is there. Unless you’re a sociopath, in which case the programing failed or was never applied. See neocons.

  94. 94
    DPirate says:

    When I read the idea of not allowing sales, I thought the same thing, pretty much, though my immediate thoughts were regarding burglaries. I think you are wrong to say that home growers would be able to compete with large-scale operations, but really, who cares?

    The plus side of pot legalization is huge. The downside is so comparatively small that the only people who oppose it are either doing so out of self-interest, such as prison unions and narco-cops, or really lapped up Nancy Reagan’s shtick, or had a kid that blew off high school and now works at the 7-11 (which, of course, is really an argument for legalization).

  95. 95
    Kate says:

    Prohibition gave the Mob lots opportunity to make money, befriend nice, family folks who normally would have run the other way if they saw them coming and helped to turn a whole lot of good people into lawbreakers, all because some tight-assed women thought we shouldn’t drink. Scott de B., are you one of those tight-assed woman who shrieks oh no, someone might get hurt so no one should do it?

    Marijuana is less physically damaging than alcohol, less addictive and maybe more fun. YMMV. It has medicinal properties that help many. My mom was only able to eat the last three months of her life because pot gave back the appetite that chemotherapy stole from her.

  96. 96
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Mark Kleiman: By that logic, why not limit everything to co-ops? Why stop at pot?

  97. 97
    Joel says:

    Scott, the problem here is that you’re wrong: scientifically (misusing the specific terminology that classifies addiction), logically (contradictory clauses in adjacent sentenced), and morally (you’re more interested in restricting the rights of others than any sort of common good). You’re just wrong, and a lot of longwinded posts won’t prove otherwise.

  98. 98
    Brachiator says:

    @Mark Kleiman:

    So no, I don’t propose making everyone who wants to smoke pot grow his own garden; you could always join a co-op, or get yours from a friend who either belongs to one or grows the stuff. Given the high costs of running an illegal business, the black market just couldn’t compete with the legal co-ops.

    No, it is that the vision of limiting pot cultivation to “grow your own” or co-ops is, to be blunt, nonsense. The plans of the city of Oakland to allow factory farming already shoots your plan down.

    The illegal and underground pot market is already geared to volume marketing.

    The second that large volume dealers come up with a professional grade California gold or Maui Wowee superior to home grown blends, the pressure would increase to displace mom and pop operations.

    But ultimately, this is all a theoretical discussion. I would easily be able to push for all that is advocated in the compromise approach, because ultimately I believe that it would be quickly pushed aside. So it doesn’t matter if this would be the path to legalization.

  99. 99
    Jebediah says:

    @Joel:
    Don’t stigma-taze me, bro.

  100. 100
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Scott de B.:

    If you are addicted, then you’ve given up the ability to make a decision, no?

    Actually no, unless everyone who can’t get going in the morning without a couple of cups of coffee should therefore become a ward of the state because they’ve lost all ability to make decisions for themselves.

    I don’t feel any particular compulsion to gamble. Yet some people, when given the opportunity to gamble, do so to the detriment of themselves or their families. I don’t think the state should be in the business of profiting from such people, nor do I think they should be incentivized to encourage people who might have a problem. Same applies to drugs.

    So you would make gambling illegal then, right? I mean, if you’re barring anyone from participating in anything that might risk addiction, right?

    If my co-worker is highly allergic to peanuts, I don’t bring bags of peanuts to work. I choose to forego the small pleasure of eating peanuts at work in order to avoid exposing him to something that is harmful to him. Yes, it’s an infringement on my freedom, but it’s a tradeoff worth making.
    __
    My attitude towards drugs is similar.

    That’s interesting, because the comparison between the two scenarios doesn’t make any sense. But OK, somehow you not eating peanuts in public because they might kill somebody is the same as me being barred from smoking a substance in the privacy of my own home where it can’t affect anybody but me. This isn’t as offensive as the hitman comparison, but it’s just as stupid.

  101. 101
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Scott de B.:

    Let’s take another hypothetical: A new drug is introduced that gives the user a temporary feeling of bliss, but renders those who use it permanently infertile. There are no other negative effects.
    __
    Would you put any regulations on the use of such a drug? What percentage of the population would have to be users in order for the state to have a compelling interest?

    The state has a compelling interest in making sure we all breed? Say, what’s your take on gay marriage?

  102. 102
    Brad Hanon says:

    I’ve been saying for years that I have this free-market small-business fantasy about marijuana legalization, just because the shit is SO DAMN EASY to grow. I imagine ten thousand little backyard operations springing up all over the country, enterprising ex-black-marketeers and little old ladies with green thumbs. Everyone’s got their own strain and their secret drying method, everyone’s got a little business license and a book on entrepreneurship, and suddenly America is awash in weed grown lovingly and carefully by people who want to do a good job. Little baggies and bricks with inkjet-printed homemade labels reading “Granny Franklin’s Sweet Buds” being sold at farmer’s markets or on plug-and-play websites with a turnkey merchant account that’s probably rooking Granny on the transaction fees.

    I’d like to see R.J. Reynolds compete with that.

  103. 103
    Jebediah says:

    @Brad Hanon:
    Pot consumers are used to trying (and sometimes failing) to find high-quality weed, and are used to price differentials between bleh brick-weed and the best stuff, which is why I for one think you may be right. The marijuana market is not the same as the cigarette market, where the price and quality differences are far narrower. Philip Morris or whoever might get those consumers who never bought or smoked marijuana when it was illegal, but will now – but how many of those people are there? I think far more marijuana consumers will be interested in organic, “boutique” products than cigarette consumers.

  104. 104
    xian says:

    @Scott de B.: you wrote:

    I don’t think it is the government’s responsibility to prevent individuals from behaviors that might harm them.

    But surely there’s a point at which the state does have an interest in the question. Would you legalize morphine? Cocaine? Methamphetamines?

    Yes, I would.

    Let’s take another hypothetical: A new drug is introduced that gives the user a temporary feeling of bliss, but renders those who use it permanently infertile. There are no other negative effects.

    Would you put any regulations on the use of such a drug?

    Why have you shifted the question to regulation from prohibition/criminalization?

  105. 105
    xian says:

    damn blockquote tag

  106. 106

    […] rebuke of Kleiman’s opposition to commercial legalization comes from E.D. Kain, who sees Kleiman as […]

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