Jonathan Caulkins once described the debate over cannabis policy as “a Whole Foods discussion of a Walmart situation.” The graphic below illustrates his point: most of the days of use involve people with a high-school education (the purple band), high-school dropouts (the green band) or people under high-school graduation age (the red band); the people in the discussion mostly have college degrees (the orange band) if not more.
Keith Humpheys reflects on the implications of that situation.
Although education is not a perfect proxy for income, the fact that 85% of pot is consumed by people who didnâ€™t graduate college makes clear that marijuana is mainly consumed by people in working-class and poor neighborhoods, not in the kinds of places that economists, attorneys, policy analysts, journalists, physicians and politicians tend to live.Â A major challenge therefore for the legitimacy of marijuana policy is to ensure that people outside the college educated bubble gain more voice in the ongoing political debate.
Continue reading “Cannabis policy: Walmart phenomenon, Whole Foods debate”
The cover spread from the current Washington Monthly: Jonathan Rauch, Jonathan Caulkins, and me on how to get legalization right.
The cover package in the current issue of Washington Monthly includes articles on cannabis legalization by Jonathan Caulkins, Jonathan Rauch, and me, under the heading “Saving Marijuana Legalization.” Mine has the wonderful title (which I think Paul Glastris gets credit for) “How Not to Make a Hash of Marijuana Legalization.”
All three pieces consider how to legalize cannabis rather than whether to legalize it. Caulkins and I both distrust the trend toward a commercial system on the alcohol model, and I’m also unhappy both about a pure states’-rights approach and about legislation by initiative. I also float the idea of user-set monthly purchase quotas, a “nudge” strategy that I claim might do some good and couldn’t hurt.
Michael Hilzik gives the whole thing a very nice write-up on the LA Times business page.
Footnote Depressingly, none of the LA Times commmenters makes a point that is either original or cogent. It’s like hearing from the Romneybots in the fall of 2012.