If you assume away the disadvantages of marijuana legalization, marijuana legalization looks like really a fine idea.
A full-text search of Duke’s article discovers no use of the words “addiction,” “abuse,” “dependency,” or “habituation.” Despite the evidence from alcohol and tobacco, Duke flatly asserts that regulated sales will do a better job of preventing access by minors than does outright prohibition.
Alas, Duke’s performance is typical, rather than unusual, for the academic “anti-prohibitionists.” Reverse the sign of the bias and you have a typical drug war handout.
Look: Drug abuse has bad results, and drug abuse is a statistically certain consequence of drug availability. Drug laws, whether straight-up prohibitions or regulations and high taxes, can reduce drug abuse, but they create harms of their own. Anyone not grown-up enough to deal with those two simple facts ought to try some less complicated policy issue, like health care or the Middle East.