The Corner

Politics & Policy

Markets and Marijuana

An email in response to my column from earlier this week:

As a Trump-[supporting] psycho whose fact-challenged political editorials I’ve tried to ignore, I would have expected you to understand that innovation only happens when innovators are compensated. Take profits out of a private industry? Seriously? Is this happening with liquor, chocolate, or opiate pills? . . .
Separately, “Cannabis Use Disorder” does not exist. I’ve enjoyed cannabis most days since 1989 and I’ve yet to spot any kind of “disorder” in my life or in my . . . career.

My response: On whether Cannabis Use Disorder exists, take it up with the DSM-5. Many heavy users do not meet its criteria. You may be one of this lucky group. (You are certainly, in this email, countering the stereotype of the heavy marijuana user as calm and easygoing.) A significant number of others are less blessed: There’s a higher proportion of marijuana consumers who report it causes them serious problems at home, work, or school than of alcohol drinkers who say the same about their drinking. And, of course, governments do take steps to reduce the abuse of alcohol and opiates even when those steps impinge on profits. None of them follow the template I suggest for marijuana. But then, our society is starting from a different place with marijuana than it is with alcohol or opiates.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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