Argument: Marijuana should be controlled like other vice products
- Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "On the Legalization — or Not — of Marijuana." New York Times, Freakenomics. October 30, 2007 - "Prohibition is an abdication of policy making, leaving an otherwise popular commodity to the problems and vagaries of contraband markets. In a country where alcohol and tobacco products are legal and taxed by all levels of government, what are the common sense, social, economic, public health, and safety reasons not to legally control marijuana in the same manner as other so-called 'vice" products for responsible adults?
- The fact is that our government can’t muster better than an “F” in its marijuana control efforts even after employing mandatory minimum sentences, civil forfeiture, ineffective school campaigns such as DARE, high-tech interdiction methods, and controls on the borders and ports, while at the same time overtly discriminating against patients who possess a physician’s recommendation to use medical marijuana and American farmers who, absent prohibition, would cultivate and prosper from industrial hemp (i.e., non-psychoactive marijuana, which is lawfully grown in most of the world including Europe and Canada). As such, it’s worth it to ask: why not adopt low-tech but otherwise effective control mechanisms such as tax stamps and other government controls, similar to how we currently control alcohol and tobacco products?
- There is nothing wrong with the responsible use of marijuana by adults — reformers and prohibitionists alike concur that marijuana is not for children, and that logical and reasonable civil and criminal sanctions are necessary for non-compliant sellers and abusers. However, the continued arrests and legal harassment of adults who responsibly use marijuana punishes behavior where there is no discernible victim, and therefore should be of no public concern or cost to the taxpayer."
- The U.S. Treasury houses the well-known Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which regulates and taxes three far more problematic and deadly products than marijuana. Rather than vilify and criminalize the producers, sellers and consumers of these products, the ATF, through taxation, controls these dangerous consumer goods from the point of production to consumer use."
- After 70 years of laboring through another failed prohibition (interestingly, both the religious and medicinal use of alcohol were permitted during prohibition), arguably a far better and more effective public policy regarding marijuana is control and regulation of marijuana via taxation. Hopefully, in our lifetimes there will be a new division at the Treasury: the ATF & M."