Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pot, Booze, and Caifornia's Prop. 19

California voters will decide in November whether personal use of marijuana should be legal.

In my previous post, I referred to a film called Saving Grace, in which a character asks a simple question: Does the fact that alcohol is mostly legal but marijuana is mostly not have more to do with the accidents of history than any qualitiative difference in the relative experiences of intoxication offered by the two drugs?

The debate over Proposition 19 in California provides an instructive case in point. Prop 19 would legalize marijuana possession for personal use. Fearing the competition from pot, distributors of booze have made substantial financial contributions to oppose it.

As the blogger Scott Greenfield points out in his post in Simple Justice, the self-interested motivation of such contributions is crystal clear. With only so many dollars-chasing-intoxicants to go around, purveyors of licquor stand to lose by the legalization of cannabis consumption.

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