Earlier this week, Brookings Fellows John Hudak and Phil Wallach answered questions in a Reddit AmA on the future of marijuana policy. The pair have researched the experiences of both Washington and Colorado with legalized recreational marijuana systems, and they are watching closely the ballot initiatives upcoming in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. They received enthusiastic responses with a wide array of questions. Below are some of the most interesting. Visit the AmA page for the complete conversation and to find out if they answered any questions you would have asked.
On drug-testing for employment
In both Colorado and Washington there was a concern for how legalization would affect company drug testing policies. This debate threw the federalism conflict inherent in legalization into sharp relief. It is not at all clear how companies with branches in different states would adapt their policies in states with legalized recreational marijuana, or even more broadly, how legalized recreational marijuana would affect the state’s economy generally.
On medical regimes and black markets
There was broad concern over how legalization would affect both pre-existing medical regimes and the marijuana markets in states. Some questioners wondered about the intent of medical regimes in the first place, while others were curious about how the traditional black market would be affected. The questions about new laws, regulations, and market actors revealed an interesting mix of enforcement and opportunities.
Legalization’s impact nationally and internationally
Beyond the two states that have already enacted recreational legalization regimes, one of the AmA participants’ most pertinent concerns was the pace and direction of policy changes in other U.S. states and even internationally. The unifying theme among these questions was a curiosity over the opposition to and lethargy around changing policy.
Broader implications of marijuana legalization
Many redditors were interested in how marijuana fits into the broader policy picture. A constellation of law enforcement issues from prison sentencing and overcrowding, to differential enforcement, to basic concerns over health and civil liberties, are all connected in some way to marijuana policy. Thus, questions extended deeply into moral and philosophical realms.
Visit Reddit.com for the full discussion.
Benjamin Huber contributed to this post.
The Duque government’s drug policy in Colombia is taking on a progressively ominous and counterproductive direction. It threatens to undermine the incomplete and struggling peace process, misdirect law enforcement resources, augment the alienation of coca farmers from the state and undermine human rights and drug users’ access to health services in Colombia. With their emphasis on criminalization of even drug possession for personal use and forced eradication, the announced policies clearly cater to the Trump administration’s doctrinaire and discredited drug policy preferences that harken back to the 1980s. But without sustainable livelihoods already in place, forced eradication will not sustainably reduce coca cultivation and cocaine production. The dominance of zero-coca thinking in Colombia whereby a community has to eradicate all coca first before it starts receiving even meager assistance from the state never produced positive results in Colombia.