“Americans now consume about 6,500 metric tons of marijuana a year and spend something on the order of 40 billion hours a year under its influence,” Professor Jon Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College, told conferees in his keynote address at the Cannabis Science & Policy Summit in New York April 17. The two-day summit was hosted by the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University. He argued that the change in the number of hours under the influence will be the most important marijuana-specific outcome of legalization, so it is important to understand what proportion of those hours are associated with harmless pleasure and what proportion reflect problem use.
“If we continue down a ‘regulate like alcohol’ legalization path, which allows for-profit corporations to produce, distribute, and promote marijuana, in 25 years the public health community and some of the public may be asking those of us living in 2016, “What were you thinking? Why did you think it was a good idea to create another industry whose profits depend on promoting daily and near daily use of a dependence-inducing intoxicant?”