By Jonathan P. Caulkins, Beau Kilmer and Mark A.R. Kleiman. Should marijuana be legalized? Since 2012 four US states have legalized commercial for-profit marijuana production and use, while Washington DC has legalized possession, growth and gifting of limited amounts of the plant. Other states, and even cities, have decriminalized possession, allowed for medical use, or reduced possession to a misdemeanor. While marijuana is forbidden by international treaties and by national and local laws across the globe, polls show that public support for legalization has continued to increase steadily over time. So why does the issue of marijuana legalization continue to be so controversial?
One short answer is that it is an extremely complicated business, with approaches toward legalization just within the United States varying widely. What’s more, 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 have demonstrated very different results.
This second edition of Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know® provides readers with a non-partisan primer covering everything from the risks and benefits of using marijuana to what is happening with marijuana policy in the United States and abroad. The authors discuss the costs and benefits of legalization at the state and national levels and explore the “middle ground” of policy options between prohibition and commercialized production. The book also considers the personal impact of marijuana legalization on parents, heavy users, medical users, employers, and even drug traffickers.