Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know

By Jonathan P. Caulkins; Angela Hawken et al. | Go to book overview

16
WHAT DO THE AUTHORS THINK
ABOUT MARIJUANA
LEGALIZATION?

Angela Hawken

Existing policies suit me well.

I enjoy wine with most meals; summer wouldn’t be summer without a good gin and tonic; and I like to serve a signature seasonal cocktail when hosting dinner parties. But I don’t drink and drive, and you’ll never find me drunk. I have never been a problem drinker, and no one in my family has a history of alcohol or drug abuse.

So the current rules work for me. I am at liberty to enjoy my mind-altering drug of choice, paying only modest excise taxes; the combined California and federal taxes on a bottle of wine come to 25 cents, which hardly matters given my low level of consumption. And the ban on marijuana doesn’t keep me from doing anything I want to do.

But the fact that these policies work for me, and for others who share my preferences, doesn’t make them right.

Laws should be rational, consistent, and fair. Alcohol does more total harm than any other drug because of its widespread use and the dangers associated with its abuse: it causes more recklessness, accidents, aggressive behavior, criminality, and loss of life than all the illicit drugs combined. Yet there is no move to (re)prohibit its use. Given the relative harms of alcohol compared with marijuana, having permissive alcohol laws

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