Rob MacCoun on growing your own cannabis legalization

Stop right now and read Rob MacCoun’s essay on cannabis legalization. Whether or not you’re actually interested in the issue – more exciting than it is important – Rob’s piece shows how policy analysis is done. In particular, he focuses on what advocates almost always deny: the fact that policy choices involve tradeoffs among competing values.

Let me offer one technical amendment to what Rob says: in my view, high taxes – as long as they allow prices close to current illicit prices – will decrease health risk and also increase revenue.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

3 thoughts on “Rob MacCoun on growing your own cannabis legalization”

  1. Echoing Mark — whether you agree with Rob or not he is an extraordinarily smart guy and very much worth reading.

  2. Reporting from the retail front in Seattle re taxes and "as long as they allow prices close to current illicit prices": Finally the shop in my NE neighborhood opened and I went by to check out their wares. The per gram prices on bud continue to decrease but are still well above illicit levels. Much was on offer at $22/gram before taxes. IMO the taxes aren't really the problem. It seems like the growers are managing to keep the prices high. The MJ tax rate is about the same as the sales tax here…about 10%.

  3. So, can I just complain for a minute? This is totally unrelated to the post … except for a concern with rationality in policymaking … but, what is up with our MSM on ebola? It is like they are all in lockstep and I'm not clear on why.

    For example … from the prez on down, people like to say their position against quarantine is "based on the science." But the LAT tells me that there are studies showing that some ten percent of Ebola victims may not ever get a fever!!! Meanwhile, our "science based" policy is based entirely on … the presence or absence of fever. Plus, aren't viruses famous for … mutating???

    Does this not strike anyone else as a bit odd? Honestly. This is why people don't trust the authorities. We don't trust because they take positions that make absolutely no sense at all … and try to guilt and flimflam us into going along.

    Given, people who go to help in West Africa *are* acting in a heroic matter. Fine. But then, what is soooo horrible about being asked to be heroic for a few more weeks? When it just more or less means a camping trip? Little Miss Thing in Maine has *no idea* if she has Ebola or not. She does not know. The president doesn't know. No one knows. (Of course i hope she's not infected.) No one's going to know for a few more days. So, why the superior attitude? She'd really rather prefer to risk infecting her own family than be inconvenienced for a little while? (Granted, the "camping" should be made as comfy as possible. Lots of ways we could do that.) Even aside from the harrowing experience of having to fight off the darned virus if she does fall ill …. then, what? She's got to replace every darned thing she owns. And I'm not even getting into the $$$ of all this. Just the emotional energy costs, even.

    Well, you probably won't put this up but I feel a little bit better.

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