Is there any good reason not to legalize marijuana? - an article by SSE Riga Assistant Professor Xavier Landes
The case of legalizing is particularly strong when comparing with the legal treatment of alcohol and tobacco, two addictive substances that are far more harmful than marijuana.
In this Satori piece, SSE Riga Professor Xavier Landes tackles a growing public issue in Latvia and many countries: the legalization of marijuana. He is evaluating whether there is any strong argument for not legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults and found none.
"A good indicator of whether a substance or an activity should be criminalized is the harms imposed on others. It is not that all harmful activities should be banned. It only means that the more harms to others an activity or a substance produces, especially when compared with its potential benefits, the stronger the case for the state to step in and regulate.
Of course, marijuana users may harm themselves depending on the intensity of their usage and also, some preexisting conditions (e.g. vulnerability to psychosis). But, on the one hand, the science does not give us reasons to believe that such self-imposed harms are more significant than for legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco. Quite the contrary actually. And, on the other hand, adult citizens who do not suffer from serious cognitive impairment should be assumed responsible enough to make decisions that could regarded as harmful for themselves.
The main point of my article is when you follow this quite simple rule, especially when you compare with alcohol and tobacco, the legal interdiction (+ criminal charges) of marijuana use is very difficult to justify. Usually, when this happens, it indicates that there is a need of: 1) an informed public debate, 2) having the legislator seriously re-evaluating the current public policy, for which I am advocating in this piece. The case is even stronger when we consider the extra fiscal income the Latvian state can collect and the opportunities for the Latvian farming industry."
Read the full article (in Latvian) at satori.lv