Q: “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?”– S. Man, Denton
A: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.
I’m happy to see that the administration didn’t skip over this kind of question. I think it shows an unusual level of political inclusiveness.
Personally, I am in favor of legalizing marijuana — and I believe it’s only a matter of time — but now isn’t the time or place. Doing such a thing would have very little overall benefit, while burning copious amounts of precious political capital. (Which I believe Obama will use to push through his green programs and his healthcare proposals.)
I also disagree with the assertion that marijuana will create a multi-billion dollar industry, because once you let supply and demand function more freely, the scarcity premium is minimized. (Though this slack may be taken up by higher bureaucratic costs.)
In terms of demand, I see marijuana more like the cigar business than the cigarette business: while there is doubtless a large number of regular users, I suspect they are the relative minority in the pot-smoking demographic.
On that note, I think I feel a larger drug post coming on soon in the next couple of days…