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February 26th

Proponents tend to portray marijuana as a miracle drug and an economic savior. I prefer a more fundamental argument,

Given what we know about marijuana, what factors justify the illegality of marijuana AND the legality of alcohol and tobacco.

Make any other argument and you will wind up disappointed. Let me point out some of them.

It’s a miracle drug. Perhaps, I am no medical researcher. But I do know because marijuana is a natural product, there are likely many unknowns. This is not to say I don’t think there shouldn’t be medical marijuana, but I’m willing to bet if its usage becomes more widespread we will discover some side effects or its no more useful than a placebo.

It will be a tax generating machine. No doubt it will become a tax generator, but to what extent? Can you think of a state whose budget is kept afloat by money from alcohol and tobacco taxes and tobacco lawsuit settlement? Perhaps revenue will spike initially, but just like cigarette taxes, revenue will dry up as soon as legislators keep raising the rate and less people smoke it.

Save billions in enforcement. I don’t think marijuana users and dealers should be thrown in jail, but you can bet drug enforcement budgets will not shrink, but shifted elsewhere. That itself is not a bad thing, but just like there is no “peace dividend” after the Cold War, there will be no savings. Not many politicians will argue for cutting the budget for law enforcement.

When you are arguing for a change in the law, argue within the scope of law. How it affects medicine and fiscal policy is secondary.

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