A rather curious article by Baker Institute fellow Gary Hale, former chief of intelligence in the Houston Field Division of the DEA: Legalization of marijuana: When, not if
He calls himself a pragmatist who is neither for nor against legalization, but considers it inevitable and argues that we should plan for it, by considering a myriad of legal issues.
It’s interesting speculation, but seems to me, at points, to be a bit of putting the cart before the horse.
Sure, all these things could come up, but not right away, and we don’t even know how legalization is going to occur. There could be (and should be) opportunities for different states to try different regulatory approaches — that’ll cause some chaos, sure, but it’ll help us discover the ones that work the best.
Couple of other points I found telling:
More questions: Will governments be faced with having to pay “reparations” to the families of police officers and federal agents who died while working to destroy marijuana plantations in the United States and abroad? [...] What do we say to these men who answered the call of the U.S. government to suppress the supply-side of the marijuana?
Not surprising, but telling, that it didn’t even occur to him to include “reparations” to the civilians who died in the war on marijuana.
I also find it a bit odd that he focuses so much on marijuana as hallucinogen, when in reality its classifcation as such is more a technicality than an actual factor.
Other articles in the series, which continues this week, include:
Marijuana: A case for legalization by William Martin
The greatest harms associated with cannabis are not the effects of the drug but of our drug policies…
In a contest with alcohol and tobacco, marijuana wins by Silvia Longmire
There are too many additional arguments on both sides of the issue to list them all here, and it would behoove the reader to do additional research if intent on forming a solid opinion one way or another. But based on the potential (or lack thereof) of harm to the human body, for people to become dependent, and for people to become violent against each other, marijuana wins in a competition against already-legal alcohol and tobacco.
It’s worth pointing out that, as usual, this series asks the wrong question, as I’ve made clear in the past: Legalization Isn’t the Question