The Road To Legalized Marijuana

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dave Warden, a bud tender at Private Organic Therapy (P.O.T.), a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, displays various types of marijuana available to patients on October 19, 2009. (David McNew/Getty)

Nushin Rashidian and Alyson Martin, investigative journalists and co-authors of A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition (The New Press, 2014), discuss the history of cannabis legalization and the implications of legalized marijuana for the United States.


Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian

Comments [15]

To "A Drinker"

At least you are honest. And despite your looking down on the weed users of the world, do you think they ought to be thrown in jail for simple use? Something tells me you do not.

[Whereas, if you are caught operating a vehicle above a .08 blood alcohol, you agree that you should be cited and have your right to drive suspended for a time. What's the equivalent MJ equivalent for driving "under the influence"? So far it has been very hard to measure how high is too high to drive.]

Feb. 27 2014 11:18 AM
Peter Macdonald

Does smoking marijuana cause lung cancer/something else? If it does will there be a "Surgeon General's" warning label?

Feb. 27 2014 11:17 AM
A drinker

I am a hypocrite. I drink. Beer. Wine. Whiskey. Gin.

I have been to bars and then driven myself home.

But I look down on people who smoke weed simply to get high. I think they are losers...slackers...dumb.

I think it is a stupid thing to do.

And I love alcohol. Yes, love.

Go figure.

Feb. 27 2014 11:09 AM
RJ from prospect hts

Save money on enforcement against illegal marijuana spend some on treatment for the subset who need it.

Feb. 27 2014 11:09 AM

How does "No worse than alcohol" become "Safer than alcohol"...

Jeez, when you're gonna quote a guy at least quote him accurately. That's how Al Gore's "I sponsored the legislation to fund the Internet..." became "I created the Internet." and "I did not have sexual relations with that woman' turns into "I did not have sex with that woman."

Feb. 27 2014 11:09 AM
eliot from teaneck

Revenue is a good enough reason because marijuana is readily available everywhere, esp in NY area, why shouldn't the gov't get a piece of the action and eliminate the cartels, eliminate criminalization.

Feb. 27 2014 11:08 AM
John A

I don't forsee resistance for maybe another decade or two until we gather again enough anecdotes that use is again harmful to society. Not until there are enough traffic/industrial/domestic accidents. Not until perhaps the next Depression, when we realize we cannot afford to be a leisure society.
As for data that marijuana debilitates thought, I've seen plenty. On WNYC comments pages even.

Feb. 27 2014 11:05 AM
Robert from NYC

So why not just go with 420 and neutralize it.

Feb. 27 2014 11:04 AM
Ann from Green Gables

So I hear the libertarian and other political arguments, but I am wondering where in this debate is any of the data about health and marijuana.

Feb. 27 2014 11:04 AM

MJ like all phanerothymes has its dangers, but those dangers can be navigated and meliorated only by honest information and are small compared to the enormous harms caused by criminalization.

Criminalization hooks MJ and all other illegal substances to the marketing power of capitalism, which is the most effective economic engine humanity has ever devised, and so inevitably spreads its use much wider and faster than any other strategy would do.

No one who espouses capitalism can support criminalization of MJ.

Criminalization of MJ is essentially a funding and jobs program for traffickers and law enforcement, both groups working together for their mutual benefit, and the destruction of innumerable innocent lives. Please address this unholy alliance.

Feb. 27 2014 11:03 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

All (use of) all drugs should be de-crimminalized. Marijuana should be legalized, as there is too much potential tax revenue to ignore but like RU, I'm concerned about big business getting into the bud-buzz business.

Feb. 27 2014 10:47 AM
Keith from Queens

Brian, I had the pleasure of attending the Free State Party's Liberty Forum in Nashua NH over the past weekend. Marijuana was an extensive part of the conversation. The Libertarians in NH have formed a legislative coalition across party lines to pass marijuana legalization, and in fact made history last session by being the first legislature in the nation to pass a bill for full legalization. The states of Colorado and Washington passed theirs by public referendum!

HOWEVER - the Democratic governor of NH (Maggie Hassan) has pledged to veto the bill. Meanwhile, the state government of NH is the only legal seller of Liquor in the state.

Please send a shout out to the good people of that state and to the Free Stater in particular!

Feb. 27 2014 10:46 AM

Legal? Yes. Commercialized? No. I understand that some commercialization must happen. (We are capitalists after all) but in my perfect world we see no mega-growers, no major advertising campaigns, no 'franchises'. In essence, pot smoking is never sold to people as 'hip' or 'the thing to do' the same way that cigarettes and alcohol have been.

And what form of "mea culpa" is appropriate for all of those who came into conflict with the system over small amounts of mj possession?

In addition to those who have actually spent time behind bars for a pot bust, what about :

All the 'stop and frisk' busts?
All the people denied school financial aid?
All the folks ejected from public housing?
All police candidates rejected for a bust on their record?

Do we just pull an Emily Latella and say "Never mind..."? What's an appropriate way to compensate them for their loss?

Feb. 27 2014 10:12 AM

This is BAD for the economy.

How will cops jailers judges lawyers former soldiers finds jobs
This might lead to the end of the whole security state economy!!

Feb. 27 2014 10:11 AM
Robert from NYC

Fingers crossed it happens fast.

Feb. 27 2014 08:10 AM

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