Drug Legalization Essay Outline

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There are many, many layers to marijuana laws and legalization.

There are still major questions about the risks of teen use, whether marijuana really needs to be rescheduled to allow research into its medical use, and how legalization will ultimately affect rates of drug use.

States, for instance, might have a harder time requiring nonprofits or co-ops to sell marijuana, similar to what's being done in parts of Spain and Uruguay.

They also might not be able to set quotas or require users to set their own quotas for how much pot can be bought each month, which is a favorite idea of Kleiman's.

But as more states consider whether to take on legalization, the rising industry has become the main target for opponents of legal pot.

"If we're not careful, the marijuana industry could quickly become the next Big Tobacco," warns the website for Grass Is Not Greener, a campaign launched by the anti-legalization Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)."They are an industry with a set of objectives that flatly contradicts public interest." Indeed, one study of Colorado's pot market, conducted by the Marijuana Policy Group for the Colorado Department of Revenue, found the top 29.9 percent heaviest pot users in the state made up 87.1 percent of demand for the drug.For the marijuana industry, that makes the heaviest users the most lucrative customers.By Kleiman's count, only liberal Vermont is seriously looking at the possibility of legalizing pot through its state legislature.Even if state legislatures passed their own legalization legislation, another problem is that federal law limits how much state agencies can involve themselves in the day-to-day management of marijuana shops."We're seeing the expected level of marketing irresponsibility from the vendors, but they don't have much to sell at the moment," Kleiman says."When they've got something to sell, we'll see how aggressive they get." Sabet acknowledges that if cautious drug policy experts like Kleiman were singlehandedly in charge of setting up a regulatory model for legal marijuana, the concept would be less concerning.And Kleiman, for his part, says edibles could be properly managed with strong regulations, some of which have been established in Colorado and Washington after several incidents, including Maureen Dowd's infamous New York Times op-ed, led to public outcry."It may be in the long run that eating it is safer," he said. And once you have a legal option, you know how much you're taking." Still, Kleiman said it will be a long time until the full effects of commercialization come to light."There's a bunch of stuff you could do," Kleiman said, "but that stuff is hard to do by initiative." The obvious alternative is state legislatures could pass their own marijuana legalization laws.But with marijuana still a hot-button political issue, not many legislatures are moving in that direction.


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