Let it grow-the open market solution to marijuana control

Jon Gettman, Michael Kennedy
Harm Reduction Journal 2014, 11 (1): 32
This commentary evaluates regulatory frameworks for the legalized production, sale, and use of marijuana. Specifically, we argue that the primary goal of legalization should be the elimination of the illicit trade in marijuana and that maximizing market participation through open markets and personal cultivation is the best approach to achieving this goal. This argument is based on the assertion that regulatory models based on a tightly controlled government market will fail because they replicate the fatal flaws of the prohibition model. This commentary argues that an examination of the reasons for prohibition's failure-to wit, the inability of government to control the production of marijuana-completely undercuts the basic premise of a tightly controlled market, which depends on the ability of the government to control production. The public interest would be better served by an effective regulatory framework which recognizes and takes advantage of competitive market forces. This analysis argues that reducing teenage access to marijuana requires the elimination of an overcapitalized illicit market. Further, it asserts that this goal and maximization of tax revenue from a legal marijuana market are mutually exclusive objectives.

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