Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

The 4/20: Marijuana Legalization Would Come With Problems

5 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size
Student stoners packed greens in Boulder, Colo., and Santa Cruz, Calif. Activists rallied in Denver and marched in Tucson, Ariz., calling for legalization of marijuana.

On this 4/20, with medical marijuana legal in 14 states and outright legalization on the ballot in California and possibly Colorado, the drug's legitimacy is clearly gaining ground.

Legalization may seem closer than ever in 2010, but a two recent polls indicate a majority of Americans oppose legalization.

Alaska lawmakers have enacted laws to regulate marijuana there, but a small amount confined to the home is typically considered legal. Medical marijuana is also legal in the state.

Although California is considering legalization, the state's medical marijuana laws are so lax that some experts say pot is virtually legal there now.

"Let's be frank, the so-called medical use for marijuana is just a legal use of marijuana," said Charles "Cully" Stimson, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation. "There's just a slight barrier to entry."

As medical marijuana becomes more prevalent and states consider legalization, a range of issues emerge about how pot would be regulated.

Legalization advocates espouse treating marijuana like alcohol is treated under the law -- but there are significant differences.

"The medical marijuana thing is tough enough to get straight," said Richard Collins, a law professor and director of the Byron White Center at the University of Colorado. He suggests regulation similar to cigarettes, including limits on advertising, restrictions on where pot could be sold, and a ban on use by minors.

He notes that indoor smoking bans would apply if marijuana became legal. More than half the states have laws prohibiting smoking in public places, including restaurants and bars. The same health issues caused by cigarettes are an issue with marijuana, too.

"We've been hearing for a long time that smoking is bad for you," Stimson said. "And most people who smoke marijuana don't use a filter."

For those predicting huge revenues from taxation of marijuana, one expert says the fact that federal law prohibits marijuana distribution would continue to drive pot sales underground.

"Thousands of suppliers now compete on the marijuana market, and that's unlikely to change, even if a state repeals its own marijuana ban," Vanderbilt University Law School professor Robert Mikos in a recent news release. "Trying to track them down and monitor their businesses would be incredibly difficult and expensive."

Plus, information collected by states could be used by the feds to prosecute dealers, encouraging them to avoid state tax collections, Mikos said.

Stimson says legalization would lead to lower pot prices, more users, and more drug-related problems such as addiction. In the end, he says, the public costs of dealing with those issues will outweigh the benefits.

"California and pro-legalization advocates are touting this mythical $1.4 billion in tax revenues," Stimson said. "That's a pipe dream."

And even if California or other states legalized pot, federal law still outlaws the drug. Federal prosecutors were urged last fall to avoid pursuing medical marijuana users, but that might not work under different circumstances.

"The Obama administration might not do the same for full-blown legalization," Collins said.
Filed Under: Polls
Outbrain - The Most Trusted Content Discovery Platform

Get Your Content Discovered.

Promote your content on premium websites

Learn More ›

Outbrain Amplify:
Get your content discovered

Your content will be promoted on the web's largest and most respected media properties, including, Slate and ESPN. We make sure it's seen precisely when people will find it most interesting.

Learn More

Outbrain Engage: The solution for a modern publisher

Outbrain Engage is a full stack software solution that empowers an entire media organization to more effectively manage its online content and programming experience.

Learn More

The world's largest content discovery platform

We bring together premium publishers and marketers of all sizes (including many of the world's leading brands) into the world's largest and most vibrant content marketplace. Learn more about Outbrain ›

561 Million

The global audience reached by Outbrain each month*

190 Billion

The total recommendations we serve consumers monthly


Of the world’s leading brands use Outbrain

* Audience reach according to comScore, September 2014. Leading brands via Ad Age DataCenter / Kantar Media, 2014.

Andy Blau
We selected Outbrain not only because the revenues were higher than others, but because its engine drives better recommendations than others.
Andy Blau
Senior Vice President, Group General Manager
Time Inc.
Dan Horowitz
It's less about buying traffic than it is about reaching the right people with relevant headlines to get them to your content.
Dan Horowitz
EVP and Senior Partner
Fleishman-Hillard Digital
Katrina Craigwell
Our goal is always to deliver content that adds value to the conversations being held by the end user. Outbrain allows us to do just that.
Katrina Craigwell
Global Manager of Digital Marketing
Bailey Foote
The fact that we’re able to drive these kinds of transactions with consumers at scale and with increasing efficiency has made Outbrain paramount to our marketing strategy.
Bailey Foote
E-commerce Manager
The Line
Neal Moore
You cannot leave it to chance that someone will find and engage with your content. Outbrain can put your content in the midst of the world’s most prestigious publications.
Neal Moore
Zach Zavos
Having links to our content appearing directly on premium publisher sites helped us establish our brand.
Zach Zavos
Conversant Media
Mike Brito
Outbrain is one of those [critical] components helping us deliver the right messages to the right contingent at massive scale and in real time to counter a crisis.
Mike Brito
Group Director

A global footprint of service

We operate offices in 11 global territories and we partner with publishers and marketers in over 55 countries, including the U.S., UK, France, Brazil, India and Japan. Come join us ›

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>