Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blue Ribbon Committee Report on Marijuana Legalization

The Blue Ribbon Committee Report on legalization is out, and it raises a lot of interesting issues. It's a short and interesting read. It doesn't dwell much on the failed effort to pass Prop 19, and it looks at the initial experiences of the four states (and DC) who legalized marijuana as possible guidelines.

Among the topics discussed in the report are questions of enforcement with regard to minors and travel; concerns about workplace and environmental safety; level, type, and usage of taxation; structuring the business end of things; issues concerning the distinction between medical and recreational marijuana; and the need for statewide uniformity.

A few things worth noting:

1. The report hardly discusses tobacco and alcohol regulation as comparisons, and the references to tobacco are limited to the issue of advertising.

2. Very little attention is paid to the political configuration that makes statewide policymaking in California particularly weak - namely, polarization and neopopulism.

3. Not enough attention is paid to what we already know from economic studies of legalization and taxation: there is already some useful information coming in from CO and WA, and there will be more from other states (I will post some links in a future discussion.)

4. The distinction between marijuana and other drugs, and the retrenchment of the latter category, is worth discussing, even if there are good arguments to justify it.

I will be speaking about the report on KQED this afternoon.

No comments: