Legalizing marijuana in Colorado will not increase drug’s usage

By Krista Brooks

Published Wednesday, July 25, 2012 –The Daily 49er


At an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, a panel of experts predicted that legalizing marijuana in one state of the U.S. will lower the price of the product in all other states, therefore encouraging more people to be attracted to the drug.

Author Jonathon Caulkins, who co-wrote “Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know” warned that the effects would be enormous and the price decline could be up to one quarter less of the current price in New York.

Caulkins said this price drop would make marijuana less risky to produce and sell, which would encourage more to smoke marijuana.

Oregon, Colorado and Washington will vote this November on a ballot initiative that would allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for those 21 and older.

Since Colorado has been regulating medical marijuana, the price of the drug has decreased. The percentage of voters in favor of legalizing the drug in this state has not increased accordingly.

Mason Tvert, co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, supports Amendment 64, which licenses marijuana cultivation facilities to provide marijuana only to licensed retail stores and product manufacturers. It is illegal to transport marijuana out of Colorado right now, and it will remain just as illegal to do so if Amendment 64 is adopted by the voters.
Tvert disagrees with Caulkins’ opinion that legalization in one state will lower the drug cost across the country. Tvert stands behind keeping the prices high to limit the usage.

“Marijuana is currently universally available, and it will remain that way regardless of whether Amendment 64 is adopted,” said Tvert. “The question is whether we would prefer marijuana be strictly controlled and sold by licensed businesses in a tightly regulated market, or whether we want to continue with the current system in which it is strictly uncontrolled and sold by criminal enterprises in the underground market.”

In Caulkin’s prediction of the prices lowering, I don’t believe more and more non-smokers are going to be turned on to the idea. Most reasons for people not participating in the drug are legal, moral, health and productivity issues. Those who are against engaging in the drug most likely won’t be ecstatic to hear that the prices have dropped, considering that he or she probably didn’t know the former prices.

The decision to legalize marijuana in Colorado should not directly affect other states in this business. The price drop may lower the criminal side to marijuana, which would be beneficial to the business.

If the price drop does encourage a significant increase in the number of marijuana users, it would be worth getting rid of the violence and crime associated with the drug.


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