Last week, nationally recognized public and drug policy expert, Mark Kleiman, wrote a blog post supporting marijuana legalization efforts in the state of Oregon. Harvard graduate, Kleiman is a Professor of Public Policy at UCLA and Chairman of Botec Analysis Corporation. Botec is the company responsible for helping to develop the legal marijuana policy in the state of Washington. Now, Kleiman publicly announces that he also supports the legalization measure in Oregon.
Kleiman’s endorsement of the measure does not come without a few criticisms examining all worst case scenarios. His analysis of the worst case scenarios and how it is not bad enough to say no, is why he chose to publicly state that he would vote yes to measure 91. In the blog post he wrote, “the choice Oregon voters face isn’t between what’s on the ballot and some perfectly designed cannabis policy; it’s between what’s on the ballot and continued prohibition at the state level, until and unless a better initiative can be crafted, put before the voters, and passed into law.”
He wrote that one of the minor mistakes included in this measure is that it does not demonstrate the understanding that permitting the sale of cannabis to of-age adults in the state of Oregon, may result in the black market re-sale of the purchased products in surrounding states. This is why he proposed the idea of a treaty between state and federal governments agreeing that the production and sale of marijuana can be legalized in any state that takes the necessary precautions to ensure the products remain within state lines. Many law enforcement agencies will be left with extra time and extra money in the budget if petty marijuana arrests are no longer a priority. Some of those man hours could be shifted to focus on keeping marijuana products within state lines.
Another criticism is that the large focus on preventing marketing of marijuana and infused products to minors may cast a shadow on the possibly larger issue of adult dependency on marijuana. Kleiman also writes that it may be a smarter option to prevent the opportunities for the development of Big Marijuana into the industry by requiring that all legal production and sale must be in the hands of non-profit organizations and co-operatives. This would keep the lust of big money out of the equation, leaving only good intentions.
Even with these criticisms, public and drug policy expert, Mark Kleiman, still supports voting YES to measure 91 in Oregon next month. Any changes that need to be made to the details of the measure, once voted in, can be done so with a majority vote by state legislature. Perhaps Kleiman’s endorsement will sway fenced voters to hop down onto the side of legalization, comforted, knowing that the country’s leading policy expert has thoroughly examined the situation, and has deemed it harmless enough.
photo credit: Washington Post