High Times’ Cannabis Consumer Choice Polling

majority_supportOur friends at High Times (and former NORML director Dr. Jon Gettman) are running an online poll asking for consumers’ choice regarding the preferred marijuana distribution that emerges post-prohibition.

Legal Marijuana: Which Market Do You Prefer?
As we approach the new inevitability of legalized cannabis, three models have been proposed for a national marijuana market.
By Jon Gettman

In the past, the goal of marijuana legalization was simple: to bring about the end of federal prohibition and allow adults to use the plant without threat of prosecution and imprisonment. But now that legalization is getting serious attention, it’s time to examine how a legal marijuana market should operate in the United States.

Below are descriptions of the three kinds of legal markets that have emerged from various discussions on the subject. We would like to know which one you prefer.

First, though, let’s touch on a few characteristics that all of these proposals share. In each one, the market has a minimum age for legal use, likely the same as the current age limits for alcohol and tobacco. In each of these legal markets, there will be penalties for driving while intoxicated, just as with alcohol use. You can also assume that there will be guaranteed legal access to marijuana for medical use by anyone, regardless of age, with a physician’s authorization. The last characteristic shared by all three mar- kets is that there will be no criminal penalties for the adult possession and use of marijuana.

Proposal #1:
Government-Run Monopoly
Under this approach, there would be no commercial marijuana market allowed. Marijuana would be grown and processed for sale under government contracts, supervised and/or managed by a large, government-chartered nonprofit organization. Marijuana would be sold in state-run retail outlets (similar to the state-run stores that have a monopoly on liquor sales in places like Mississippi, Montana and Vermont, among others), where the sales personnel will be trained to provide accurate information about cannabis and its effects. Products like edibles and marijuana-infused liquids with fruity flavors would be banned out of a concern that they can encourage minors to try the drug. There would be no advertising or marketing allowed, and no corporate or business prof- its. Instead, the revenue earned from sales would pay for production costs and the operation of the state control organization; the rest of the profits would go to government-run treatment, prevention, education and enforcement programs. Regulations would be enforced by criminal sanctions and traditional law enforcement (local, state and federal police). No personal marijuana cultivation would be allowed. The price of marijuana would remain at or near current levels in order to discourage underage use.

Proposal #2:
Limited Commercial Market
Under this approach, the cultivation, processing and retail sale of marijuana would be conducted by private companies operating under a limited number of licenses issued by the federal government. Advertising and marketing would be allowed, but they would be regulated similar to the provisions governing alcohol and tobacco promotion. Taxation would be used to keep prices at or near current levels in order to discourage underage use. Corporate profits would be allowed, and tax revenues would be used to fund treatment, prevention, education and enforcement programs. Regulations would be enforced by criminal sanctions and traditional law enforcement (local, state and federal police). No personal marijuana cultivation would be allowed.

Proposal #3:
Regulated Free Market
Under this approach, entrepreneurs would have open access to any part of the marijuana market. Cultivation, processing and retail operations could be legally undertaken by anyone willing to bear the risks of investment and competition. Advertising and marketing would be allowed, but they would be regulated similar to the provisions governing alcohol and tobacco promotion. Prices would be determined by supply and demand, with taxation set at modest levels similar to current taxes on alcohol, tobacco and gambling. (These vary widely from state to state, but assume that under this model, the price of marijuana would be substantially lower than it is in the current market.)

Also, home cultivation would be allowed. Licenses may be required for any sort of cultivation, but these would be for registration purposes only and subject to nominal fees based on the number of plants involved. Individuals and corporations would be allowed to make whatever profits they can through competition. Tax revenues would fund treatment, prevention, education and enforcement programs. Competition and market forces would structure the market rather than licenses or government edicts, and regulatory agencies rather than law enforcement would supervise market activity.

A Different Approach
There are two key issues when it comes to deciding among these proposals. First, should the price of marijuana be kept high through government intervention in order to discourage underage use as well as abuse? Second, does commercialization translate into corporate money being spent to convince teenagers to use marijuana? Many of the proposals for how a legal market should operate are based on assumptions about these two issues, which leads to recommendations that the government must, one way or another, direct and control the marijuana market.

Obviously, the first two proposals outlined above reflect those very concerns. The third takes a different approach, in which marijuana is treated like similar psychoactive commodities, and the public relies on education, prevention and age limits to discourage underage use as well as abuse.

We want to know what type of legal marijuana market you prefer. Please take part in our poll on the HIGH TIMES website.

69 thoughts

  1. I saw that seedy, twiggy stuff that outfit in Mississippi was producing for scientific research. NO GOVERNMENT MONOPOLY!

    I vote for the 3rd option.

    I do believe that as the noble weed enters the mainstream, everyone will eventually realize it’s not in the same realm as nicotine and alcohol when it comes to the damage done.

  2. I’ll go along with #3, but drop registering, licensing and charging a fee for non-commercial home growing until home beer brewing, wine making and tobacco growing are subject to the same oversight.

    Many (most?)folks will not bother to register with the state, and it will be difficult to enforce such laws.

  3. I think legalized marijuana in the USA should follow these three principles. Any plan that strays from these concepts should be dismissed.

    1 – The absolute right for individuals over the age of 21 to grow, process, and consume marijuana – without any restrictions whatsoever – on their own property. This means no limits on how many plants they can grow, how much marijuana they can possess, or how they process it before PERSONAL consumption.

    2 -The concept that marijuana, since it less harmful and dangerous than alcohol, should never be prohibited to a greater extent. This means pot should be sold at any liqour store where high alcohol content beverages are allowed. Also, if a person is allowed to carry unlimited amounts of alcohol from location “a” to “b” that the same person should be allowed to buy or purchase a similar quantity of marijuana and transport it. For example, if someone can buy 50 cases of beer they should be allowed to buy a pound of pot.

    3 – Taxes on pot should never be more than the equivalent on beer or cigarettes, if any “sin” tax is imposed at all. And it should only be imposed once: either in manufacture, distribution, or point of sale.

  4. The issues of “regulation” and “underage use” should be addressed differently than anywhere described in the three proposals above.

    1. The “regulation” needed is of the means (and equipment) used to ingest the product: promote VAPING instead of H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide “smoking”; promote 25-mg Single Toke portions (as in a flexible-drawtube screened one-hitter) instead of the 500-mg joint; eventually also substitute cannabis and 167 other safer herbs for 6,000,000-deaths-a-year tobacco.

    If there is a tax on sales of herbal cannabis, it should be used to subsidize Sebsis*, i.e. to create manufacturing jobs in high-unemployment countries producing several billion long-stemmed one-hitters (to be used not only by the several hundred million cannabis users but by the 1.2 billion addicts worldwide currently using toxic tobacco in hot burning overdose $igarette format).

    2. Rather than simply decree “no underage use”, the safest long-term solution is to make every underage person One-Hit Literate, i.e. immune to ever wanting to splurge-puff away a 500-mg joint in minutes, as many now surreptitiously do (under prohibition, a joint is EASIER TO HIDE than a vaporizer), because the behavior adventures from a 25-mg single vape toke (minus the mind-numbing monoxide) are so much More Interesting.

    Tax revenues from herbal cannabis sales accordingly should be invested in one-hit training opportunity for everyone of all ages, along with instruction in making the equipment as mentioned above.

  5. What is the problem with our government??? Is it staffed by an unending line of Control Freaks? Proposals 1 and 2 are literally just stupid ideas.

    How about the government start running the FDA again, since that one of their jobs??? Right now, the FDA is being run by private companies more so than it is being run by the government.

    Either of these two really bad ideas could end up with a new Big Tobacco which laces our marijuana with poisons for profit, they will probably find some kind of addictive material to dope marijuana cigarettes with. The government will not stop them from doing this evil shit to cigarettes, why would we ever suspect the same group that allows poisoning via tobacco would not support poisoning people via marijuana?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  6. * See Wikipedia: Sebsi– a Moroccan long-stemmed one-hitter– with illustration. A flexible drawtube may be substitute for a better view of the vape toke procedure

  7. #3, without a doubt! A regulated free market, just like with alcohol, will produce the best quality with price competition. No govt monopoly–ugh.

  8. #3 would be acceptable to me without registration. Do home brewers need to register? If we are going to tax regulate it like alcohol then do it the same. Keeping the prices high would just encourage black market that can sell it cheaper to anyone. If the price is kept reasonable I would suspect most would go the legal way.

  9. I choose #4 – Regulate it the same as broccoli and cauliflower – can’t say it’s organic unless it is.

  10. Option 3 allows for individuals to conduct scientific research without too much government fuss. I am talking about uses for the plant that do not include human consumption, i.e. Antimicrobial applications.

  11. Since I live in Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania has a Liquor Control Board that oversees the wholesale purchase and distribution of any commercial wines, cordials, and other spirits stronger than beer, we’ll probably get forced choice #1. There are State Stores that you have to go through, retail, to buy anything but beer by the bottle. There are some vineyards that are licensed to sell their own wines. Home brewing is allowed. If you buy wholesale, you must buy from the state. Unfortunately, personal cultivation even on a small, personal scale would not be allowed, which means viable seeds will still be illegal to vend.

    #1 sucks greasy donkey dick.

    #2 sucks just the same as #1 because no personal cultivation is allowed, and I fear that also means sales of seed strains will remain illegal to the retail customer base.

    Forced choice #3 allows personal cultivation for those who like that. Most people will go for the finished product rather than grow their own, just as most cigarette smokers buy the finished product rather than growing their own tobacco, shredding it, and rolling their own cigarettes.

    We know from the Dutch and Canadian government monopolies on medical cannabis that the quality is not as good as what can be obtained at a coffeeshop or non-government source.

    Marijuana prices should be priced so that they are competitive with black market prices for like quality cannabis. The mere fact that cannabis is legal and regulated and that people have to show identification is the main deterrent to prevent young people from getting it. Card them, and put the underground market out of business. If the black market remains, minors will still get it. I think the point about the children is a bit off the mark regarding keeping prices high so kids don’t get ahold of hit. It’s more than just high cost to price them out of the market.

    The 2nd concern about commercialization leading to Big Business marketing to their future customers, kids, is something that is done by controlled advertising such as for tobacco and alcohol. There are no tobacco ads on television and radio, and likewise could be the regulation for cannabis. It surprises me that shows that are on late at night on the weekends that minors watch are full of beer commercials, i.e. Saturday Night Live, and pretty much any movie or show with a theme popular with teenagers like horror, science fiction, high school comedies, et cetera.

    I agree with Don B. about dropping the red tape about having to register and/or get licensed for personal cultivation. It’s a bunch of bullshit. Drop it.

    I could deal with the government monopoly in Pennsylvania if personal cultivation were allowed in the likely case that backyard and garage farmers can grow better stuff than the shit the government might be offering. That means the retail sales of cannabis seeds must be legal. Probably some combination of monopoly and regulated markets will be most efficient, provide the best quality and selections, yet keep the price high enough so that kids will have a much harder time getting it than they currently do from the unregulated black market.

    I insist upon small scale personal cultivation and the retail sales of seeds being legal under any choice.

    I simply don’t like the forced choices, being forced to choose from only these three options. Senator Folmer is sponsoring a medical marijuana bill in Pennsylvania, and I’ve told him that it’s too restrictive because it doesn’t allow personal cultivation in medical cooperatives. It specifies that the MMJ dispensary has to be run by a licensed nurse or some other medical professional with a higher degree. Joe cancer survivor like myself can’t do it on his own way out the back of the property.

  12. option 3 please . unless we are gonna do that with every plant. we don’t need a license to grow tomatoes . Free the plant already

  13. Well, duh… If I can’t grow it myself, it isn’t real freedom. And letting the government control it is just asking for them to turn this natural cure-all into the next addictive vice because they now spike it with something to hook you… Number 3 is the only option that can work for everyone who needs it.

  14. 4. None Of The Above. Cannabis should be completely unregulated like tomatoes or corn, ect. ASKING for regulations from the government is a fools errand that has and will in the future hinder peoples access to the most valuable plant known to man. Quit rolling over like little bitches to beg for the governments approval.

  15. #3 certainly the other options continue to provide sanctions to private individuals who cultivate their own medicine. this is unacceptable and is only justifed by concerns for maximizing PROFIT. theres the shock it would play out like this.

  16. Put me down for #3 and leave the government out of it as much as, possible. They have lied about cannabis since the 30’s. They are corrupt and the entrepreneurs need a chance of this growing and popular business. This option gives us as individuals rights to a God giving plant at affordable prices, yah!!!

  17. It can only be the third choice, If pot is to ever be free. Any intervention from the government will screw the entire process. See government run health care if you have any doubts.

  18. Is it just me? Are we giving too much to the other side? We are discussing the regulation of a plant with a flawless safety record. Not one death, nobody with a deadly allergy, no chronic disease… Nothing. I’m all for inspecting for health reasons.

    Keep it out of kids hands, but because they’re kids who are not responsible yet… not because it’s dangerous! The studies suggesting harm to brains of kids under 25 are based on speculation, not science or empirical proof. They stated they couldn’t see any difference in brain images, yet we talk about that study like it meant something.

    This discussion needs to be taken in a different direction if you asked me. I vote none of the above. Treat it like coffee, not alcohol IMHO.

  19. Definitely not number 1, don’t want them involved anymore than absolutely necessary.

    I want home cultivation, Ill grow my own strains and medicines.

    Can’t wait!!

  20. I don’t really like any of these options. I would like to see the plant free like it was before prohibition and the only legal interference is if someone drives impaired a simple road test would suffice. Big Pharma, any business or corporation can sell or make anything they wish and compete for sales. People are allowed to grow for themselves whatever their needs and desires are. I think farmers markets should be able to grow and sell for diversity. Kids are already using this plant for medicine and recreation and it’s much safer than pills, alcohol or tobacco and healthier for them. I think parents should try to keep it from their kids like they do their wine (wine is made at home as much as anyone wants). Cannabis is a highly nutritious food people need the Cannabinoids to be healthy that’s a fact. People want to juice it and make it into a tea…it’s food. I would only consider option 3 worked into my model I just laid out. It’s the most simple and sensible. More restrictions and laws are simply absurd as this plant was only illegal for greed and that is exactly what all this is about right now. Cough syrup sold over the counter is more dangerous than Marijuana and everyone knows it. Big pharma neither created nor discovered Cannabis/Marijuana or it’s compounds nor is responsible for what Cannabis does for people’s health. This plant is doing what it’s done for thousands of years for people as a food and a medicine before Big Pharma ever existed. Big pharma should be free to make any medicine they want but not be able to tell individuals what they can or cannot do for themselves with natures gifts. Nobody or corporation has a right to monopolize nature nor a Government make nature illegal. All medicine and healthcare should be non-profit that is why we have this mess right now. People’s rights and interests verses Big Pharmas profits. We won’t even discuss private prisons etc. Right now.

  21. obviously option #3. the gov has already proven they don’t know how to grow mj. Option #2 promotes conglomerations, which is exactly what we don’t want to see; the walmartization of the cannabis industry. Option #3 is clearly the choice here. with a free market and NORML’S model for business standards, we’ll see a continually improving product with ever greater and higher quality product. People think this means that ppl will get higher, but those of us who know better know that it’ll mean you smoke less.
    can’t wait to buy my plane ticket to colorado

  22. Don B, you’ll never be able to regulate home produced cannabis products as long as they’re not on the market, which is as it should be. there won’t be as many people as you’d think out growing the stuff. to do it right it’s really labor intensive and requires a lot of equipment and knowledge and if I’m typical, I just don’t have time for that in my daily life and will be happy to pay for it from a retailer–taxes included!

  23. My answer lies between #2 & #3

    I like a licensed system, similar to the Alcohol model of Beer and Wine in CA.

    Growers must be licensed… plants could be tracked (with tax reports)

    Distributors must be licensed – Plants / product could be tracked

    Retailers must be licensed – Product could be tracked

    Recreational users must be over 21

    Medical users can be all ages, the oldest and youngest with the assistance of a responsible adult.

    All plants and products should be tested for MOLDS, PESTICIDES, FERTILIZERS and other Contaminants.

    Above, in YOUR #2 REGULATED model, it sounded like there would be a FEW suppliers and retailers in the chain. Like alcohol I believe there should be licenses for Packaged Sales & On Site Use (like a bar or tasting room)

    All labeling must get government approval. Labeling should include ACCURATE contents (15.2% THC & THCA) and suggested dosing.

    Packaging should not be attractive to kids.

    Manufacture of food items should be done in licensed food processing plants. Labeling should include all ingredients and allergy indications.

    Medicines and ointments should follow industry health manufacture and handling standards as well for similar non marijuana products.

    Individuals could grow their own (limited number) but if freely available some might grow a plant or two, but most won’t.

    It is taxed at the three phases above – Grow / Distribution / Sales

    Taxes could be less for medical use.

    Taxes are slated for HONEST Education for Teens and Adults (similar to the cigarette and alcohol campaigns that WORK, not the lies and scare tactics that don’t) teaching RESPONSIBLE use, knowing when to say when and designating a driver

    Taxes also used to create a treatment network, of COST FREE and STIGMA FREE care and treatment for those who seek it out freely.

    Those that don’t seek out treatment and have issues are offered treatment or treatment in jail for those who need more attention

    Those who cause harm to others, or can’t live within the bounds of the law, will be dealt with in the criminal system… much like alcohol today.

    To prevent drugged driving, IMPAIRMENT issues are discussed, SCIENTIFIC STUDIES are conducted, and PERFORMANCE BASED ASSESSMENTS are created. No testing for arbitrary limits of THC level in blood. Skill tests are developed. (for the next 5 minutes, I need you to look at me, and NOT at this Twinkie I’m placing over here to your side 5 feet away LOOK AT ME!!! )

    Lastly, the government allows testing and research so that all of the compounds in marijuana can be identified and good medical and scientific use can be put to them.

    Testing can be done on multiple strains, as many as possible, to understand how these strains are received by different persons, with different needs and / or ailments.

    Hemp is grown for Food, Fuel and Fiber.

    I hope I didn’t leave anything out.

  24. Completely unsurprising results, the only Americans who believe free market in not the best option for ANY commodity, are either profiting from corporate/government relationships, or really haven’t thought there opinion through thoroughly. Free market with limited government intervention and regulation is always, always, always the best way to grow any economy.

  25. #3 is the only option – all the others would still leave a thriving black market. I do think that some restrictions should be emphasised such as age limits and where and when products can be advertised.
    Pricing and taxation rates must also be an issue – if taxes are too punitive then this will also give rise to a criminal trade – especially since cannabis is so easy to produce compared to alcohol, tobacco and many pharmaceutical drugs.

  26. #3. Although I think it should be up to the individual state to regulate it as they see fit. Remove federal controls.

    Why not use the current alcohol regulatory scheme? Simply substitute “marijuana” in the place of “alcohol” and the legislation and regulation mechanisms are already in place. This would be less of a burden on law makers, administration, and regulation costs.

    Market needs to dictate prices otherwise you could end up with a black market if the cost is prohibitive.

  27. I like the New York Times suggestion of a regulated private market that separates the chain of production: businesses that grow marijuana cannot sell them. This would prevent vertical integration of the marijuana industry turning it into the next big tobacco (minus the heavy-duty addictiveness and toxicity of tobacco). Ban marketing to minors and use the tax revenue to fund drug treatment centers.

    Of course, all of this is meaningless in a world which big corporate money runs everything. After all, the reason weed stays illegal is because of the big money by big pharma who don’t want to lose billions of dollars of revenue to a less addictive product. As long as Citizens United stands and we lack strong disclosure laws and small donor matching systems, all hope to wean people off of legal drugs (which have varying levels of danger) fade.

  28. #3 Because people need jobs.

    There should be a registry of applicants that apply for commercial growing and processing. With quality control from a 3rd party for cross QC.

    Citizens should be able to grow personal supplies limited on a number of blooming plants, not an overall X amount alive at any time. The reason for this is because if kids learn this stuff has a sale value, we’re gonna have a bunch of little thieves on our hands. I don’t want to hear how my son earned 50$ last weekend because of stolen cannabis and him being a part time “street pharmacist” on the weekend.

    Personal growing should be limited to secure growing environments. IE a living room window, a fenced back yard, camera monitored to prevent theft etc. It should not be out in the open on a pedestal depicting “this is my good stuff, don’t take it”, because it’s going to be stolen.

    That’s all that’s needed for the prohibitionists to start screaming “encouraged child use”

  29. If the government is EVER allowed to have total commercial control over something they have lied about, destroyed lives over, and falsely demonized for decades, that would be one of the biggest laughable hypocrisies to ever occur. It the equivalent of allowing the KKK to take control over the NAACP.

  30. I believe that option 3 will be our best choice if i have to choose ..this country has been brain washed long enough since the 30s our for fathers wrote the constitution on hemp paper.. they also grew hemp … hemp can be used for many things bio fuel rope paper clothing etc, etc. etc…big pharma the alcohol industry gas and government are whats behind the slow pace of cannabis legalization they stand to loose alot of money …this country has become full of very greedy people they control this country .we the people need to take back this country before its to late ..this is one of the greatest movements i have seen in 40 yrs ….the gov, already is taxing at to high of a rate on cannabis in states where its legal…theres greed for you ..we need better control i agree/// but let the people decide by voting in the laws pertaining to cannabis in there state,s …soon i will be on vacation going to colorado yee haa …everybody keep voting keep up the good work (peace) and god bless

  31. It’s a weed. There will be a black market no matter what the price. The only thing that gave it value were the laws against it. People from out of state line up at the pot shops to buy it now because it’s new but People in Colorado that smoke know someone that grows their own. The money to be made by legal marijuana is in the savings to law enforcement. Let people that want to smoke it smoke it. Even kids. An early dos of pot will more than likely cure them for life. If not, there are worse things than being a pot head.

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