The TSAP and Twenty-One Debunked have both long supported full cannabis legalization for everyone over 18, period. And we took what we could get thus far towards that goal, even with all the compromises that had to be made along the way (especially that utterly abominable 21 age limit unique to the USA and Quebec). And no, legalization is still NOT a disaster.
But the status quo leaves much to be desired, and surely we can aim higher. How has it disappointed? Let us count the ways:
- First of all, the age limit is still 21, not 18 like it should be by now (and really should have always been).
- Limits on self-cultivation are far too tight, if it is even allowed at all.
- Taxes, licensing fees, and licensing restrictions were far too high and onerous from the get-go to quash the still-existing and thriving black market.
- The transition period from legalization of possession and use to legalization of commercial sales was at utterly glacial pace, and still is in some states. Not only has that been a drag, but it even gave the black market time to get a head start once the state telegraphed its intentions at least a year or two in advance.
- Only specific types of dedicated stores (dispensaries) can sell it legally. Unlike alcohol or tobacco in most states.
- Big Tobacco, Big Alcohol, and even Big Pharma, all once sworn enemies of cannabis and cannabis legalization, are now getting a piece of the action by heavily investing in a rapidly growing cannabis industry that is making artificially high profits from being propped up by onerous regulations that keep smaller competitors out.
- And last but not least, legalization at the federal level is still pending, fully TEN YEARS after the first states began to legalize recreational cannabis at the state level.
On the other side, some rules have been roundly criticized for being too lax, most notably the potency limits (or more accurately, the lack thereof) for commercial sales compared to countries like Canada and Uruguay. And as long as potency limits are reasonable and phased down gradually, it is quite unlikely that they will foment black market sales significantly more than the status quo does. Ditto for taxing cannabis based on potency (X cents per milligram of THC), which only a few states do now.
The federal legalization efforts keep stalling as well, due in part to well-meaning legislators trying to shoehorn so much social justice stuff into it, and in part due to other legislators that still oppose cannabis. While the social justice stuff is good, it may be an overreach compared to getting through a bill that simply removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, period. Or better yet, one like Bruce Cain's MERP Model that also explicitly allows unlimited, untaxed, and unregulated self-cultivation of cannabis for anyone over 18, while not precluding legal taxed and regulated commercial sales alongside it. The black market and the emerging Big Pot oligopolies would thus both be destroyed in one fell swoop, plus all of the other benefits of full legalization. That's the power of ABUNDANCE, baby!
So what are we waiting for? Time to finish the job already!
UPDATE: A new study finds that there is a very strong inverse correlation between the number of legal dispensaries per capita, and the size of the black market. Local bans on dispensaries, largely due to NIMBY politics, and most notably found in large swathes of California, seem to be perpetuating the black market, basically. In other news, study finds that water is wet and the sun rises in the east.
And this NIMBY-ism is completely unfounded, as honest research finds that legal dispensaries actually increase property values and decrease crime in their neighborhoods. Let that sink in for a moment.