Keith Humphreys opposes cannabis legalization in principle: Â a more radical stance than my own skepticism about Prop 19.
He’s concerned about a big increase in consumption among disadvantaged youth, and about the political economy of giving the tobacco companies either a big new revenue source or a big new ally in the form of a legalized-pot industry. Those are both reasonable concerns, which is why I prefer a non-commercial approach to legalization. But the sheer cost of prohibition – enriching and imprisoning growers and dealers, alienating, arresting, and sometimes jailing the tens of millions of otherwise law-abiding pot-smokers and denying them employment opportunity – and the harmless pleasure cannabis provides to most of its users constitute strong entries on the other side of the ledger. Not everything that’s bad for you needs to be illegal.
The news story doesn’t do anything like full justice to the subtlety of Keith’s views; it’s worth listening to the full audio.