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Regulation is only as hard as you make it

July 1, 2013
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Legalizing marijuana is hard. Regulating a pot industry is even harder. by Mike Konczal in the Washington Post.

It’s hard to slog through all the hand-wringing in this article — fears about making the wrong decisions in regulating marijuana, as though legalization involved suspending a massive anvil above the population and you only had one opportunity to get the suspension system correct.

But the fact is, of all the substances or activities that you might have government regulate, marijuana is one of the least scary. It’s also one of the hardest to contain.

Just legalize it. Slap a few regulations to mostly keep it away from kids and to insure that commercially sold marijuana isn’t moldy and isn’t grown in ecologically damaging ways, and see what happens. Wait until the spike from the novelty wears off and then tweak as needed.

But of course that won’t happen. They’re going to argue and argue over what will ultimately be irrelevant: how to use regulation to prevent addiction (hint: that’s not one of the powers of regulation).

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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