Free-Market Marijuana


Pot is not just legal in many states; it’s also becoming big business. More than 30 states have made the product available for medical use, with ten letting adults buy or otherwise procure it for recreational purposes too. But the pot on the market today is more potent than it was 30 years ago, and the number of people with a self-described cannabis use disorder is rising. Academics and doctors think that legalization might have positive health effects overall. But they are worried that very potent, easily available pot might lead to some public health problems too. Marijuana prohibition has a tremendous fiscal cost and a far worse human cost. Researchers have convincingly argued that cannabis is far less dangerous than substances like alcohol. A solid majority of Americans support legalization. But a few decades ago, about one in ten cannabis users reported daily or near-daily use. Now, even more people are using it, and the share of monthly users who use it nearly every day is 40 percent by some estimates. That means that people who use cannabis are nearly three times as likely as drinkers to consume daily. And cannabis does have health effects, among them impairing cognitive function and inculcating dependence. About 9 percent of people who use marijuana develop that dependence, meaning they can have withdrawal symptoms, mood and sleep difficulties, cravings, and restlessness. For some small number of users, marijuana seriously impairs their quality of life. Lax regulatory standards and aggressive commercialization in some states might be compounding some of the public-health risks associated with cannabis, even as legalization reduces other public-health risks. The lack of federal involvement in legalization has meant that marijuana products are not being safety-tested like pharmaceuticals; measured and dosed like food products; subjected to agricultural-safety and pesticide standards like crops; or held to labeling standards like alcohol. This is not to say that prohibition is a more attractive policy, or that legalization has proven to be a public-health disaster. That’s not true either. “The big-picture view is that the vast majority of people who use cannabis are not going to be problematic users,” Jolene Forman, an attorney at the Drug Policy Alliance, told me. But there might be better ways for states to maximize the benefits of legalization while also minimizing the risks. The government could run marijuana stores, rather than leaving it to private businesses. States could bar budtenders – the people who sell you pot – from making medical claims. They could also cap the amount of THC in products, and bar producers from making edibles that are attractive to kids, like candies. Taxes on legal weed products could probably help curb consumption among the heaviest users. Such policies would help get rid of the financial and human costs of prohibition. They would also help make sure that cannabis use disorders do not become a bigger problem in the future.

73 thoughts on “Free-Market Marijuana

  1. This is capitalist propaganda and I am surprised The Atlantic would post this anti-free market. The MILLIONS I PAY IN TAXES ISN'T ENOUGH. I paid just under 4 million last year, oh but, the government needs more. Cause I didn't fight the government to get the right to grow. Yeah, let us just let the government throw us in jail and then 10 years later take our fucking jobs that we fought them to have!!!!!!! Yeah, Nice ONE! Great point of view guys. Never mind the fact that violent crime is down in almost all states where it is legal. Addiction is a problem with anything…..does that mean the government should own the bars?????? How can you guys be so short sided as to put this on America's invisible Pot addicts when it needs to be on America's addiction period. I don't see oxycotin paying for infrastructure and schools. I don't see anything else keeping people off heroin and pain pills. Please don't be fox news and just show a one-sided story cause the pot industry does more for America than the federal government.

  2. The government could run marijuana stores??? No freakin' way, as a centrist Democrat, I think it would be much better for private businesses to sell weed rather than the goddamn government. Weed will cause the new "gold rush" and it'd be much more profitable if it was left to private businesses rather than the government, creating more jobs and increase economic growth. I don't really mind some regulations but the government should be out of it mostly. Wow, I'm really disappointed that the Atlantic proposed such a socialist idea.

  3. Easy. We legalize it and use the money to pay for veterans,schools, and drug rehabilitation programs for citizens. Get these folks with non violent drug offences out of jail and get them back working again.

  4. “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."
    ― Francis Young – DEA Judge – 1988

    "The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world."
    – Dr. Carl Sagan (American Cosmologist, Astrobilologist, author & science communicator)

    "Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marijuana in private for personal use…”
    – Jimmy Carter (U.S.President)

    “Congress should definitely consider decriminalizing possession of marijuana…We should concentrate on prosecuting the rapists and burglars who are a menace to society.”
    -Dan Quayle (U.S. Representative & Vice President)

    "Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could."
    “The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help and suckering well intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.”
    – William F. Buckley Jr. (American conservative author and commentator)

    “You bet I did -— and I enjoyed it.” ….when asked if he had ever smoked marijuana.
    – Michael Bloomberg (New York City Mayor)

    "Studies have consistently failed to establish the existence of a link between the harshness of a country’s drug laws and its levels of drug use."
    -Kofi Annan (U.N. Secretary General)

    "Pot is a better drug than alcohol. I'll prove it to you. You're at a ball game or a concert, and someone's really violent and aggressive and obnoxious, are they drunk or are they smoking pot?"
    “Why is pot against the law? It wouldn't be because anyone can grow it, and therefore you can't make a profit off it, would it?”
    “…It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn’t the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit…unnatural?”
    -Bill Hicks (Satirist, Social Critic, Stand-Up Comedian)

    "If the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" don't include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on."
    Terence McKenna (American ethnobotanist, author, advocate for responsible use of natural psychedelic plants)

  5. After twenty plus years of use, I have never had an accident. My cognition is spot on, BMW/other tech by trade, never more sharp. My health is better than all except athlete's. The only danger of cannabis is that law enforcement will shoot, arrest, and jail you, while taking everything you own,, for growing your own medicine, from a weed, in your own house.
    This country is far less free than most realize,, ed.

  6. Your video didn’t talk about all the people dying from the drug cartel wars. Beheadings, mass grave sites, refugees, narco states. That seems to be the most important part of the conversation, and it’s not even mentioned, also why legalization is the answer. Take away their monetary power.

  7. I smoked for 25yrs everyday,never had any type of withdrawal. I also owned a successful business for almost 30 years. Never had a problem no addiction. I think doctors in the west do you not want to see this go forward because it affects their drug business including pharmaceutical companies.

  8. Here in California there are pesticide standards in farming standards that compliant farmers do you have to adhere to. As well as safety testing and also potency testing. you should check your facts

  9. Taxing it to reduce the number of chronic users? That's completely laughable, as we've already utilized the black market for years. You'll simply drive us back to it. The cigarette tax strategy will fall flat if attempted with cannabis.

  10. heroine, oxy contin, crack, over eating, chronic masturbation, and sleep disorders are probably all way worse than marijuana abuse. If you need an addiction, why not weed?

  11. The marijuana industy does have great potential for many, but its future economics is still ensnared with the inaccurate decisions of our past.

  12. I don't know. This looks like a bold, grand lie by the few in power to keep the industry in control for themselves, profit off it and not let people use and sell it freely.

    Calling it free-market while looking to destroy it with restrictions.
    If they cared so much about our health they would have perma-banned alcohol and tobacco.
    These sweet little lies have gone on for far too long and we're not stupid anymore to be manipulated. Nope.

  13. Wow Anne Lowrey, this video is only now coming out months after your article? Did you rush production of this video to coincide with the minor media frenzy over Alex Berenson's anti-pot book? By the way, is your issue with pot more personal than you are letting on? Did you start abusing pot in liberal DC and had problems quitting? If so, don't you think a personal confession essay detailing your problematic use would be more interesting than this anodyne screed or would that be too embarrassing in your social circle? Anyway society is going to converge on a way to optimally use pot over the coming years as the novelty wears off but we'd get there quicker if people with an audience are honest about the problems they encountered with the substance.

  14. Ok how is this going to work? You cant drive on it or go into public high? How can cops check if someone is driving on it. I think it would be fine if you stayed in your home and did it. I remember in the 90s everyone did it and it was fine.

  15. You are so wrong on so many points about the risk. In colorado all cannabis is tested and several regulated about what pets controls can and can't be used and all products have to be labeled with the lab results info about the strangth and strain used in it and anything added ie. vapes. so for colorado your wrong.

  16. 90% of the issues raised are despite ''The Atlantics'' argument not issues of the free market trade of Cannabis but rather a lack of a federal judicial base for its production and sale. ''Federal Dispenseries'' are an awful idea. Licensing and educating budtenders and applying federal standards for Cannabis production, sale and medical appliance however might work without de-privatising an entire industry.

  17. Believe in legaliztion but they do need to go easy on thc levels yeah we are addictive beings even as a baby we throw a fit when we come off a pacifir for gods sake. When we go from bottle to cup we cry then to think about iy

  18. Bahahahahahaha!!!!! Ever heard of the endocannabinoid system? That thing hardwired into the DNA of every living organism on the planet? Nobody had weed withdrawls. Do some research god damn I'm so sick of these strawman arguments. Since weeds stronger you smoke less, you don't go get a 30 rack of liquer from the gas station do you?

  19. here is my reason to using cannabis.
    I am allergic to cats and my girlfriend has a cat. when I stayed over for a week I was smoking weed with her. this was my first time trying weed. I took 1allergy pill a day, but I knew that wouldn't help long. I also stayed over at another friends place who also had cats. a month after that week I wonder why I never had an allergy attack when being exposed to cats everyday. I looked up online if weed helps and turns out, it does. I was surprised and amazed that it can help. it helps one way or another.

  20. Prohibition is and has always been about controlling people.
    There was a time when Americans fought hard against being controlled, but that was long ago.

    Now that cannabis is being legalized across the globe, the statists here at home are having panic attacks fearing the loss of control over their subjects.

    It's pretty easy to see on which side a person or organization lends their support.
    Some people simply cannot imagine freedom.

  21. I would not like to be a passenger in a car driven by a person stoned out of their gills with this new super potent herb! One of my best friends needs to (yes needs to) have a joint the moment she gets out of bed, every day. For years now. Is that not concerning?

  22. Do we need the government selling us our caffeine, alcohol, and prescription drugs as well to maximize benefits and minimize risks? If not then why do we need it for Cannabis?

    Taxes also will not curb usage among heavy users it will keep the black market alive. Something I believe the people funding this propaganda understand perfectly. Their approach and double think is Orwellian. They claim doing exactly what will continue to allow the black market to thrive is what will eliminate the financial and human costs of prohibition and the strength of their supporting evidence are the words "probably could" and "would". These people are either dishonest or imbeciles, either way consideration of their views at face value is to be led astray.

    No matter what you believe the only correct choice when considering their arguments is to dismiss it for the simple reason that "that which may be claimed without evidence may be dismissed without evidence".

    First provide conclusive evidence of even one detrimental effect of Cannabis and then get back to us, until then this is just more prohibitionist garbage and hysterics looking to solve a problem that only exists within themselves.

  23. This video is wildly wrong about many things. First it's safety regulation is actually much higher than federal regulation on things like food and alcohol because they have to not only have it lab tested but also seed to sale confirmed for every product. Second there has never been ANY evidence to support the statement that "9% of users become addicted and have withdraw symptoms". Finally suggesting that the federal government would be better at running pot shops than regular people is absurd. They are the ones that made it illegal in the first place FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN GREED! And have been benefiting off of that greed for every second it's been illegal. Further more their regulation of all the other industries has been a massive disaster, the prime example of this is the FDA who's life goal it seems is to be in big pharmas back pocket and let lethal dangerous drugs on the market while keeping safe ones illegal. In short, before you make a video about cannabis why don't you do some actual research instead of spouting a bunch of bullshit that's completely untrue.

    And a side note "Taxation can make sure that cannabis use disorders don't become a bigger problem in the future". No one knows wtf you're talking about, there is no cannabis use disorder, it's just non sense you're making up. And even if there was such a thing taxation would in no way, shape or form help it. Taxing something doesn't lessen a disorder, it just lessens access to a medicine from poorer people.

  24. I think you need to do a little more factual reading and find out the real evil is in the pharmacutical industry and alcohol industry why do they you go home and smoke a dubi

  25. 0:13

    The origin of the myth that cannabis today is stronger than cannabis in the past, came out of federal officials inability to store and get their hands on high quality cannabis at the time. I'm sure with breeding practices, there are strains of cannabis out there today that are stronger than they naturally would be, but cannabis has always had a wide range of potencies.

  26. 0:53

    A few decades ago one in 10 admitted to it, because the environment of the time was not conducive for people to be openly cannabis users. Nowadays the counterculture, has nearly become mainstream, and relaxed views on it has allowed more people who are already using it, to come to the Forefront and into the spotlight.

  27. 18 of 20 beer brands tested positive for glyphosate pesticide. the commonly used weed killer called roundup. the weed argument is dead.

  28. WTF, the government would give better services than the market and private business? never happened in history, this is ridiculous, more regulations, less quality and waste of money, just look at the shitty quality of canada, where they are prefeering to purchase from black market because the quality is just better and have no taxes either. This is bullshit.

  29. It needs to be legal but ban the use of it around children. Can’t tell you how many fucked up parents will smoke it around them.

  30. Actually in California all the things she said are not happening actually are. Testing products, thc regulation in edibles and the like. I am disappointed in the Atlantic for letting this nonsense out to the public.

  31. The only health risk marijuana has today is that I can be put in jail for it. Money does grow on trees they just made the tree illegal.

  32. This might be the worst video I've ever seen. Also, the "medicine" most shops are pushing is not medicine.. Just look at how it's grown!

  33. Marijuana doesn't "impair" cognitive function. It wakes you up from the sleepwalk of your daily life. It makes you realize that you're being controlled by everything, and you start to question everything, which means people like you can't get the responses that you want from your slaves, and you call that "Cognitive impairment" but really they're realizing they don't owe you a fucking answer.

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