Legalize It...Or Not
Release Date: 11-10-2010
Harvard economist and Cato Institute fellow Jeffrey Miron duked it out with Rosalie Pacula of the Rand Corporation on the issue of marijuana legalization last week. Listen to both speakers express their views in depth on the Mark Johnson Show on WDEV.
Should pot be legal?
Jeffrey Miron, senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Economics at Harvard and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, and Rosalie Pacula, co-director of the RAND Corporation's Drug Policy Research Center and acting director of its Health Economics, Finance and Organization Program, clashed over that issue last Wednesday afternoon during a Janus Forum debate in Ira Allen Chapel. The debate occurred a day after a California vote to legalize marijuana failed.
Miron, who favors legalization, cited lack of evidence for any of the conventional "anti" arguments -- from marijuana's reputed impact on worker productivity to its gateway effect -- and pointed to the high law enforcement costs and lost tax revenue of the current system.
Pacula said too little was known about marijuana's "health harms," especially those related to the developing adolescent brain -- hospital stays for young people admitted for marijuana-related reasons are four times longer than those related to alcohol, for instance -- and said that high costs, which would plummet if marijuana were legalized, deter pot use among the young.
The debate was the fifth installment of the Janus Forum, a debate series founded by James Gatti, a finance professor in UVM's School of Business Administration; Arthur Woolf, an economics professor in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Richard Vanden Bergh, also of the School of Business Administration. It was moderated by Emerson Lynn, editor and publisher of the St. Albans Messenger.