Marijuana Legalization

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mark Kleiman, professor of public policy at UCLA, and Jonathan Caulkins, professor of operations research and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, discuss their book Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know, which takes a look at the current status of marijuana and examines what legalization might look like.


Jonathan Caulkins and Mark Kleiman

Comments [36]

Mike from Inwood

Al claims: "I must comment on the myth that weed is stronger than ever Bullshit!!!! There was amazing weed around back in the Woodstock era, and there was ditch weed. Same now."

Al: Sure, there was good weed back then. Thai stick or Acapulco Gold, if you could get it. They were rare. Mexican or Columbian, both weak by today's standards were far more common. Why is this? Great weed is now the rule, not the exception. Just as corn has been improved by educated people creating hybrid seeds, so has marijuana. Growing techniques have also come a long way from throwing some seeds in soil and adding water.

Jul. 27 2012 12:51 PM
j. p. from NYC

Thank you Jim for calling in and voicing your concerns about the psychiatric issues related to the use of today's marijuana. It would seem that Brian's guests are sorely lacking in their knowledge about this most important aspect of marijuana use. Brian’s guests have a bag of excuses they pull out to legalize marijuana but are unwilling to address in depth, the severe consequences of continued use of this potent substance. So, in order to lessen the numbers of people arrested for marijuana related offenses, and a plethora of other excuses, we would rather sacrifice the mental health of our population?
I respectfully suggest the following: Spend some time in emergency rooms. Visit In-Patient and Out-Patient treatment centers and local Mental health programs. Speak to the Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Therapist’s dealing with patients suffering from a myriad of mental health problems that are rooted in marijuana use. Attend AA & NA meetings. Listen to the painful histories of addicts and families. How consistent marijuana use robs people of their motivation, of their ability to rise to the challenges of life. Those that lose their jobs, lose relationships, or drop out of school, are fortunate compared to the numbers whose mental health has been severely compromised. Then tell me that TODAY'S marijuana is benign! The lawyer that called in was worried about the stigma of his marijuana use - he should be more concerned about the health issues of his vice. Are the people behind legalization of marijuana willing to add another addictive substance to our grocery lists for the sake of greed? When one of Brian’s guests mentioned ‘Bundling’ –or the addition of marijuana to common products such as beer, brownies, etc. the phone lines should have lit up like a Christmas tree! This is the reality of legalization of marijuana – it will be used in such ways. Do we honestly believe that these products will just be sold to 18 yrs and over? And what will the implications be for our youth – for the next generation of Americans? Think about experimental ‘test group’ that was mentioned, they know so little about the consequences of marijuana use that they need a test group? Yet they would be willing to open Pandora’s Box and legalize this potent drug without full knowledge of all potential health aspects? The reasons why they are pushing for legalization are disturbingly obvious - once again, money and greed trump health and well being!

Jul. 27 2012 12:49 PM
Mike from Inwood

I have smoked pot for 37 years. The pot today is incredibly stronger than the pot was 25 years ago.

That said, I'm not sure there is more pot-induced psychosis now than 30 years ago. Anyone who claims otherwise is really ignoring all the problems involved in quantifying symptoms that have been reported differently over the years as the legal issues and social stigma surrounding pot use have changed.

I remember being 20 and having to smoke a $20 half-ounce bag of 'Mexican' weed with 3 other people to get really stoned. Good pot now sells for $20 a gram (28.3 grams equal an ounce) and one gram can keep 4 people stoned for for two days. Because you don't have to smoke as much to get really stoned, there is much less 'wear and tear' on the lungs involved and I really think smoking stronger pot is much more healthy than smoking weak pot.

Jul. 27 2012 12:43 PM
Jonah from Brklyn

I have seen documentaries made by scientists showing under electron microscope thc infiltrating and destroying cancer cells. I have never heard this debunked, I have also heard similar co.clusions from a princeton study. I have heard it is al so a cure for migranes, alzeimers, glaucoma, depression, chronic pain, and ten other ailments and diseases. What would this do to the pharmaseutical industry if it was legalized and the sick could grow their own meds?

Jul. 27 2012 12:39 PM

I am prescribed Vyvanse, or lisdexamphetamine... I have also been known to use marijuana. I could see an argument that cannabis does no increase risk, but I have some real difficulty believing a study that found an increased risk for drivers on amphetamines was conducted properly.

Jul. 27 2012 12:37 PM

MJ & driving Increased risks, although not statistically significantly, were assessed for drivers using amphetamines, cocaine, or opiates. No increased risk for road trauma was found for drivers exposed to cannabis.
cid Anal Prev. 2004 Jul;36(4):631-6.
Psychoactive substance use and the risk of motor vehicle accidents.
Movig KL, Mathijssen MP, Nagel PH, van Egmond T, de Gier JJ, Leufkens HG, Egberts AC.

Jul. 27 2012 12:24 PM

britta asked:
What are the links between marijuana use and memory loss?
I don't remember.

Jul. 27 2012 12:17 PM
Cori from nj

One variable that is rarely included in any public health discussion is the risk of RECEIVING medical care. It is unknown what the risk is, all other things being equal, but recent studies hint at it. Between medical mistakes and the inherent risks of surgery and pharmaceuticals some researchers estimate that medical attention could be somewhere between the 4th and 8th leading cause of death.

Since for some people, smoking pot represents DIY mental and physical healthcare, this should be taken into account.

Great show, Brian!

Jul. 27 2012 12:16 PM

The need to smuggle promotes more concentrated strength. Smuggling distilled alcohol imported more intoxicant per weight & volume. Therefore, hard drink became preferred for import during prohibition. American alcohol preferences formed during prohibition were for hard liquors. It took about 70 years for American preferences to return to the more natural doses in wine & beer.

The coca leaf gives a mild coffee-like high when chewed. But nobody can import bales of leaves. So it's refined into a deadly white powder and imported in small hidden spaces.

Jul. 27 2012 12:12 PM

I must comment on the myth that weed is stronger than ever Bullshit!!!!
There was amazing weed around back in the
Woodstock era, and there was ditch weed. Same now.
There is plenty of crap around now--only difference is that is looks nicer than the ditch weed of old.
Anyhow, anyone who wants to smoke can find product of various grades right now.
So, just decriminalize possession and private use, and allow growing for personal use.
One more thing--growing hi grade MJ is a cottage industry on all 50 states. It is not coming from Mexico.

Jul. 27 2012 12:05 PM
The Truth from Becky

Oh yes, decriminalize NOT legalize is my vote

Jul. 27 2012 12:03 PM
The Truth from Becky

Drugs are or illegal - medical? a farce, those prescriptions being abused in California.

Jul. 27 2012 12:01 PM

Also, the caller talking about the link between psychosis and high potency marijuana is referencing garbage science and speculation. The causal connection is pure speculation and there are a variety of equally legitimate theories about the causation of the correlation.

From my experience this argument typically comes from guys who smoked pot in the 60's and want a justification for changing their views on marijuana in adulthood. They no longer support marijuana in the way they used to but they don't want to feel like a stick in the mud, so they latch on to sensationalized junk.

Jul. 27 2012 12:00 PM
britta from Hell's Kitchen

Two Questions: (maybe for a further discussion)
What are the links between marijuana use and memory loss?

And how do the authors understand any links between marijuana use and productivity?

thank you!

Jul. 27 2012 12:00 PM

if it is legalized and taxed and priced correctly it will be like cigarettes and alcohol. there is no underground alcohol production or cigarette black market production. tax it and use it to fund a healthcare system.

Jul. 27 2012 11:58 AM
Janet from Westchester

Nicotine is far more addictive and dangerous to health than marijuana - but, of course, the amount of money
received in bribery (i.e., campaign contributions) from the tobacco industry is much more interesting to our
wonderful corrupt Congress than anything they might gain from marijuana users. If mj is legalized, perhaps
then the producers of that substance could pay more money into the congressional coffers and make it more

Just think, the drug war in Mexico could be ended, once drugs are legalized! But then, what would the DEA and
our law enforcement people do for amusement?

Jul. 27 2012 11:57 AM
Jeff Pappas from Dumbo

Alcohol ,and ciggarettes cause severe health problems try making them illegal and see what happens

Jul. 27 2012 11:57 AM
Jon Pope from Ridge, NY

Please ask how many people are going to the emergency room for marijuana issues vs alcohol issues.

Jul. 27 2012 11:56 AM
John A from sobriety, thanks

Truth & Beauty,
LOL there was a two-student unit at my college that had a particularly large reputation for Pot. The two were students in Mathematics and a Nuclear Engineering. Guess which was the one with the supply?

Jul. 27 2012 11:56 AM

where are the studies that show a link between pot and schizophrena? sounds like media hype. reefer madness

Jul. 27 2012 11:56 AM

The guest needs to brush up on his craft beer. Like the varying potency of Marijuana, the ABV of craft beer can vary from 4% to 18% with the average range somewhere between 6% and 8%... mass produced pee beer is consistently in the low 4% range. Prices range from $9 for a six pack to $10 a bottle, along with a growing market for $10-$30 375ml bottles of special, limited run brews. So the prices, quality, and potency all vary within a fairly wide range. On top of that home brewing, like home growth, is on the rise.

I see a connoisseur marijuana market shaking out very similarly.

Jul. 27 2012 11:53 AM
eleni from NYC

MArijuana Legalization is an interesting idea that Cuomo wants to push forward for NYS. This could lower the amount of needless arrests and hit organized crime right where it hurts -- in their bank accounts. England had been working to find other uses for Cannibis, including a nasal spray for asthmatics who cannot use steroidal based medicines. I read that the FDA is close to passing it for the US.

Jul. 27 2012 11:51 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

One of the problems I see with the use of marijuana is that people who use don't understand that it impairs one's faculties as much as alcohol, but they still think it's okay to use before going to work in the morning. I can't tell you the number of times I've ridden the subway to work next to someone who absolutely reeked of marijuana smoke. I wouldn't want someone like that working for me. They are less able to do their jobs, more apt to have accidents and just less responsible, on the whole.

It's also bad enough now that people take cigarette breaks from work, but can you imagine what it would be like if people took "joint" breaks all day? The air on the sidewalks would be unbreathable and people would be going back to work after their breaks as impaired as if they'd had a couple of martinis.

I somehow can't believe this would be a good thing.

Medical marijuana is a different issue. If it were ordered by a legitimate prescription for a legitimate medical condition, and if it were the most efficacious substance available to treat that condition, as long as it caused no other harm, I can't see how anyone could oppose that. Medication is different from recreational drugs.

Jul. 27 2012 11:48 AM
Jon Pope from Ridge, NY

Please ask if underground production of Marijuana is far more destructive to society then legally mass producing it.

Jul. 27 2012 11:47 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

Legalize it & tax it. Period.

I'll stick with my wine.

Jul. 27 2012 11:45 AM
John A

I have met more people made strange from Marijuana than bu alcohol, in the current environment in the USA. Its called a recreational drug. Aren't there enough recreational things already?

Jul. 27 2012 11:43 AM
Suzinne from Bronx

Marijuana makes my life livable. I suffer from post traumatic syndrome and anxiety, and pot calms me and is so much better than taking pharmaceuticals.

Jul. 27 2012 11:40 AM

Decriminalize NOT legalize.

I dread to think what happens if marijuana legalized to the level of alcohol -- advertising, taxation, etc.

Decrim small amounts and personal use and home-grown...No pot farms.

Jul. 27 2012 11:37 AM
Jon Pope from Ridge, NY

Please ask the guest, didn't alcohol abuse and use go up during alcohol prohibition and then go back down when it became legal again?

Jul. 27 2012 11:36 AM

I have no interest in mj, except one comment.

Grow Up and just regularize. This is a topic of maximum inanities.

BTW, the reason why O is prosecuting medical mj is so that he gives his PhRMA campaign contributors time to develop an expensive patentable substitute.

Jul. 27 2012 11:36 AM

But what about our jailers?
This might put lots of up-staters out of work.

Jul. 27 2012 10:17 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

As long as corporations cannot make a profit from marijuana, legalizing the the plant will be an uphill battle.

Jul. 27 2012 10:11 AM
Jeff Pappas from Dumbo

1 ) Decriminalize ( All prohibitions create a balck market and the violence that stems from that is the Main casue of death, no one has died from smoking MJ ) Our prison system is clooged with non violent people and guess what happens to them in Prison.

2 ) Tax and Regulate, we could ALL have National Health care between the $ collected and the $ saved in the Criminal in Justice system. Dont drink n drive dont smoke n drive be 21 years old

3 ) Let people grow their own

4 ) Problem solved

Jul. 27 2012 10:09 AM

Gary Johnson, Libertarian Candidate for President, would legalize Marijuana.
He would pardon non-violent drug users.

Jul. 27 2012 10:05 AM
Robert from NYC

Yes, just legalize marijuana. It's time the USA grows up and this is one issue that would help that along.

Jul. 27 2012 10:03 AM

Marijuana - Hemp opponents, whose products would need to compete with hemp:
Oil Industry - Rockefellers;
DuPont: oil, plastics, paper pulping;
Hearst - Wood Pulp Paper
cotton industry,
providers of insecticides & fertilizers for cotton
alcohol industry
drug industry
1937: The year the federal government outlawed Hemp or cannabis.
-- DuPont patents petrochemical manufacturing processes for making plastics, as well as pollution-heavy sulfate/sulfite processes for producing wood pulp. For the next 50 years, these processes are responsible for 80% of DuPont's industrial output.
--In its 1937 Annual Report, DuPont informs stockholders that the company anticipates radical changes from the revenue raising power of government... converted into an instrument for forcing acceptance of sudden new ideas of industrial and social reorganization.

Hemp proponents:
Henry Ford - Planned to run cars on Hemp Deisel Oil, Built rugged body parts of Hemp fibre reinforced hemp plastic
American Medical Association

Jul. 27 2012 10:01 AM

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