Dear Marijuana and Crime Researchers: Start Your Engines

(Photo: Coleen Whitfield)

Yes, it could all go up in smoke — legal challenges, including from the Federal government, and all that — but among the interesting developments from last night’s election (do yourself a favor and look at this map) is the news that Colorado and Washington voters chose to legalize marijuana. Here’s how the issue was phrased on the Colorado ballot:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning marijuana, and, in connection therewith, providing for the regulation of marijuana; permitting a person twenty-one years of age or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana; providing for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores; permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities; requiring the general assembly to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of marijuana; requiring that the first $40 million in revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund; and requiring the general assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp?

We have previously addressed marijuana legalization and the many economic, legal, social, medical, and criminal implications. With a potential wide-scale legalization in two substantial states, I am guessing a lot of academic researchers in the drug, legal, economics, and criminal-justice fields are revving up their engines to start figuring out what happens next.

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  1. Bodger says:

    Sure, it’s logical but that doesn’t mean that it will fly. If the country was ruled logically it wouldn’t be recognizable any more.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1
    • JAKE CRANE says:

      the whole issue is about money. period. law enforcement does not want to lose the layers of jobs they have created. they don’t care that the black market is profiting. they have created the problem. the private prisons will lose more “customers” mostly african american. to name a name – joseph kennedy got his start running rum. he built a dynasty from that and profited handsomely. look at al capone etc. big bucks were made from prohibition along with all the crime while legitimate business was shut down. know your history. this is no different, just a repeat.

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  2. Travis says:

    What can history tell us first? Couldn’t we look into what happened post-prohibition in the places which were the first to re-adopt alcohol after the 21st Amendment? Seems like it would be interesting to compare.

    Though we’ve had Marijuana prohibition for much longer than we had alcohol prohibition, and there is still a great deal of conflict between the states and the fed, which complicates things.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
  3. Paul Thompson says:

    Legalized or not, I have a very tough time looking at marijuana as something I want my kids to be a user of. I look at the people I have known growing up, and see a very evident separation of economic standing between the daily users, and those that never used. On the other hand, I also don’t want my kids to become alcoholics, but I don’t want to get rid of my glass of wine at dinner.

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    • Legal Marijuana says:

      There definitely will be a need for research. In terms of Medical Marijuana I’m truly excited. I think that we will in the next few years see specialized cannabis based treatment centers for; cancer, MS, autism, chronic pain etc. Now with Marijuana legalized in these states, we can expect those researchers to go wild =)

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    • Blake says:

      Paul, the problem with your reasoning is that you are judging all users of marijuana based on the ones that abuse the drug. It’s akin to basing your perception of alcohol primarily on the actions of alcoholics. There are plenty of marijuana users that use the drug on occasion without forming a debilitating habit, but you would never know they exist, because they keep it to themselves due to it being illegal. “Stoners” don’t typically keep their consumption private. I would like to see the new props in Colorado and Washington lead to more people, including those with a higher economic standing, openly admitting that they like to smoke recreationally. It would remove much of the stigma across the nation.

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  4. Richard says:

    If you legalize first, you get a bunch of drug tourism. Expect borders of the states to sprout stores, similar to what happens in a county/state that allow fireworks when it is forbidden in neighboring states. It’s the Same pattern for lower tobacco taxes, alcohol sales (next to dry counties), and lotteries. I live in the Netherlands, This is a good model for seeing what WA and CO can expect.

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    • Rolando says:

      That would be predictable. It would have been a good idea to write in a surcharge for out of state ID’s as well, extra 1-2% for touriststs!

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  5. Eric M. Jones. says:

    It’s clearly a gateway drug to nicotine and alcohol….the real killers.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 10
  6. JAM says:

    Unfortunately, this will not likely get very far for research purposes if the Obama administration continues to crack down on marijuana the way they have in California.

    The hypocrisy of laws that tell us is it OK to drink alcohol but not smoke weed is the equivalent of the government telling us the preferred method to get high. Make sure when you get high, you get high the American way.

    And the silly argument of gateway drug. Find one person who does crack and doesn’t drink alcohol.

    Will we ever learn when it comes to using the force of government to enact our preferences on society?

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    • Tyrone Biggums says:

      “Find one person who does crack and doesn’t drink alcohol.”

      i like to smoke rocks. if i have $10, i can either get a rock or a 6-pack. rock beats, well, pretty much everything!

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  7. Mark says:

    It’s going to be really interesting to see how this plays out on many levels.

    It may make it easier to improve the quality of research around other uses, even reducing the stigma associated with the harmless hemp products.

    It will also be interesting to be able to track the market and trade of this more accurately. If the price drops will there be less incentive for the involvement of other criminal elements?

    I’m curious to see how this will affect the growing of the product. Hopefully the changes will enable more natural growing practices, reducing the dangerous potential for reactions to the un-naturally high levels of psychoactives that occur in the intensive industrialised indoor growing.

    It could be a good strategy for harm minimisation, however, I’m more supportive of decriminalisation because the idea of tobacco companies monopolising the packaging and sale of marijuana scares the hell out me.

    Interesting times.

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  8. Ros says:

    I’d send those academics to Uruguay, actually, if they wanted to study something that hasn’t been tried before:

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