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Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know (What Everyone Needs to Know)by Jonathan P. Caulkins
Synopses & Reviews
Should marijuana be legalized? The latest Gallup poll reports that exactly half of Americans say "yes"; opinion couldn't be more evenly divided.
Marijuana is forbidden by international treaties and by national and local laws across the globe. But those laws are under challenge in several countries. In the U.S., there is no short-term prospect for changes in federal law, but sixteen states allow medical use and recent initiatives to legalize production and non-medical use garnered more than 40% support in four states. California's Proposition 19 nearly passed in 2010, and multiple states are expected to consider similar measures in the years to come.
The debate and media coverage surrounding Proposition 19 reflected profound confusion, both about the current state of the world and about the likely effects of changes in the law. In addition, not all supporters of "legalization" agree on what it is they want to legalize: Just using marijuana? Growing it? Selling it? Advertising it? If sales are to be legal, what regulations and taxes should apply? Different forms of legalization might have very different results.
Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know will provide readers with a non-partisan primer about the topic, covering everything from the risks and benefits of using marijuana, to describing the current laws around the drug in the U.S. and abroad. The authors discuss the likely costs and benefits of legalization at the state and national levels and walk readers through the "middle ground" of policy options between prohibition and commercialized production. The authors also consider how marijuana legalization could personally impact parents, heavy users, medical users, drug traffickers, and employers.
In 2010, California narrowly missed passing a voter referendum to legalize marijuana production and use at the state level. The initiative, known as Proposition 19, was ill-drafted and illogical, but it still came within just a few percentage points of passing - and it did so in a year with a strong conservative tide. A different proposition, but aimed to the same end, is virtually certain to be on the ballot in California in 2012, and proponents are also trying to get it on the ballot in other states, including Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. The odds of passage in California are good, and the United States is likely to soon see a flood of similar propositions in other states. At some point, probably more distant, the legislatures, and even perhaps Congress, may pick up the debate.
The debate and media coverage surrounding Proposition 19 reflected profound confusion, both about the current state of the world and about the likely effects of changes in the law. Marijuana Legalization will provide readers with a non-partisan primer about the topic, covering everything from the medical definition and benefits and negative consequences of using marijuana, to current laws around the drug, the likely consequences of legalization at the state and national levels, and ideas about the way that marijuana could be produced and regulated. In conclusion, the authors will lay out different strategies to address the situation, both at the national level and at the state level.
About the Author
Jonathan P. Caulkins is Stever Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.
Angela Hawken is Associate Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University.
Beau Kilmer is Co-Director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.
Mark A.R. Kleiman is Professor of Public Policy at UCLA, editor of The Journal of Drug Policy Analysis, and author of When Brute Force Fails and Against Excess.
Table of Contents
1. What is marijuana?
What is marijuana?
What are the active ingredients in marijuana?
What are sinsemilla and hashish?
What is synthetic marijuana (Spice or K2)?
Has potency been growing?
Does potency matter?
How long does intoxication last and for how long can marijuana be detected?
2. Who uses marijuana in the United States and how much do they use?
How many people use marijuana?
How is marijuana typically consumed?
How has marijuana use changed over time?
How much marijuana do consumers use?
· Physical volume
· Joint equivalent
· THC content
· Monetary value
What are the typical patterns of marijuana use?
What share of all marijuana goes to very heavy users?
What share of all marijuana use is high-potency marijuana?
3. What is known about the negative consequences of using marijuana?
Can extended marijuana use lead to dependence or addiction?
Do people really go to treatment for problems with marijuana?
How many people end up in the hospital because of marijuana use?
Does using marijuana cause cancer?
Does using marijuana cause emphysema and other lung disease?
Does using marijuana cause schizophrenia and other mental health problems?
Does using marijuana impede emotional growth and social development?
Does using marijuana influence crime and delinquency?
Does using marijuana use affect educational and employment outcomes?
Does marijuana cause accidents?
Does marijuana influence the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs?
Are their second-hand smoke risks of marijuana?
4. What is known about the non-medicinal benefits of using marijuana?
How does marijuana produce pleasurable effects in the brain?
What do marijuana users say about its effects?
Does marijuana provide non-medicinal benefits other than pleasure?
· Symbolic value
· Effects on creativity
· Effects on sexual experiences
· Effects on ability to appreciate art, music, and humor
Do marijuana's effects outlast the intoxication?
5. What is known about the medicinal benefits of using marijuana?
Does marijuana have an effect on appetite (relevant for cancer, AIDS, wasting syndrome, etc.)?
Does marijuana have an effect on muscle spasms (from multiple sclerosis and other conditions)?
Does marijuana have an effect on intaoccular pressure (glaucoma)?
Does marijuana have an effect on pain relief?
Does marijuana have an effect on insomnia?
Does marijuana have an effect on anxiety?
Does marijuana have an effect on depression?
Do we already have prescription medicines that provide THC?
6. How stringent is law enforcement against marijuana?
When did marijuana become illegal in the United States?
Who gets arrested for marijuana possession?
What happens after those arrests?
Who gets arrested for marijuana dealing and growing?
Are marijuana sentences similar to sentences for cocaine and heroin?
How many people are behind bars for marijuana offenses?
How much does marijuana enforcement and incarceration cost?
How do those arrests and incarcerations break down by race and economic status?
7. What is legalization and what is the context of the debate?
What is legalization?
How many countries have legalized marijuana?
Who supports and opposes legalization?
Has support for legalization been growing?
Will support for legalization grow in the future?
Why are the voters sometimes bolder than the people they elect?
Would marijuana legalization violate international treaties?
Are there any consequences for violating international treaties?
Could these international treaties be changed?
8. What are the different ways marijuana could be produced, regulated, and taxed after legalization?
How and where is marijuana grown today?
How much is marijuana marked up between farmgate, wholesale, and retail?
Are prices lower in the Netherlands? In Mexico? In California?
Since marijuana is just a plant, why is it so expensive?
Is marijuana really the nation's leading cash crop?
Does marijuana production really use $5 billion worth of electricity in the U.S. each year?
How is marijuana currently distributed?
Who could produce and distribute legal marijuana?
· Those with government licenses?
· Any company?
· Any adult?
· Internet sales
What regulations could apply to legal marijuana?
· Public use
How could marijuana be taxed?
· Fraction of sales
How much enforcement would regulating and collecting taxes require?
Would employers still be allowed to drug test?
9. What are the likely consequences of marijuana legalization at the national level on:
Methods of consumption?
Criminal justice costs?
Other countries actions?
Violence in Mexico?
10. Could one state legalize marijuana?
What could the federal government do if one state passed marijuana legalization?
How would production and production costs change if marijuana is legal in a state instead of the entire country?
How would distribution change if marijuana is legal in a state instead of the entire country?
How would legalization in one state affect other states?
Does it matter whether legalization is by law or voter proposition?
11. Between marijuana prohibition and legalization: What do we know about the middle ground?
What have we learned from medical marijuana?
What have we learned from Dutch experience?
What have we learned from reducing sanctions for possession?
What have we learned from experiences with legal home production?
12. Can industrial hemp save the planet?
Can industrial hemp save the planet?
Is hemp the same as marijuana?
Do other countries allow legalized hemp?
How big is the potential market?
Can we have hemp without legal marijuana?
13. How will marijuana legalization affect me personally?
How would legalization affect me if I am a heavy user of marijuana?
How would legalization affect me if I am an occasional user of marijuana?
How would legalization affect me if I am the parent of a teenager?
How would legalization affect me if I am an employer?
How would legalization affect me if I am a marijuana grower?
How would legalization affect me if I am a member of a Mexican drug trafficking organization?
14. What do the authors think about marijuana legalization?
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