Marijuana’s Five-Year Plan: Aspirin or Alcohol?

Predicting where the country is headed with regards to marijuana is a fool’s errand.

There are too many unknowns: the next President, rescheduling vs. descheduling, FDA approval of cannabis-based drugs, recreational ballot initiatives, cannabis research studies, and so many other factors that will decide what 2021 cannabis looks like.

But one thing is clear.  We need to collectively decide whether we want to treat cannabis like aspirin or liquor.

aspirin liquor-store

There are pro’s and con’s to each approach.

If we treat cannabis like aspirin, we head down a highly-regulated, nearly-perfect manufacturing process that ensures consistent product.  We can expect the involvement of doctors, pharmacists, pharmacies, and yes, even pharmaceutical companies.  Sour Diesel in Oregon will look, taste, and feel like Sour Diesel in Colorado, or like Sour Diesel in Massachusetts.  With a pharmaceutical approach we strip away both the heavy metals and the terpenes.  We lose mom & pop growers but gain repeatable health benefits (and risks).

If we regulate cannabis like alcohol, cannabis loses the stigmatization and over-regulation.  Cannabis-as-alcohol will democratize access to the plant, and welcome business moguls and neighborhood cannabis shop-owners alike.  Cannabis-as-alcohol will organize significant federal and state lobbying initiatives, adopt the loved/maligned alcohol distributor model, permit public consumption for social use, and pose greater risks for over-consumption and other health risks.

If we do not choose a path, the government will choose for us.  Left to its own devices, government is sure to choose the pharmaceutical model, and there are legitimate reasons for, and against, this approach.

Which way do you think is better?



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