Washington’s marijuana consultant warns the state not to look at marijuana as a cash cow. Dr. Mark Kleiman, a UCLA drug policy expert and a consultant paid to help the state implement its marijuana law, warned first that the revenue raised by the drug will be much less than the projected $450 million. Kleiman estimates it will raise less than half that amount. He also warned against relying on marijuana for state revenue because that entails relying on abuse and addiction, which is against a state’s broader public interests.
Just as 46 percent of alcohol is consumed in drinking binges, most of the marijuana is consumed by just 20 percent of marijuana users, Kleiman said. This means the state will have to rely on heavy users to raise money: “The only way to get a lot of revenue is to sell a lot of marijuana. The only way to sell a lot of marijuana is to sell to people who smoke a lot of marijuana. And that’s not a good thing.”
Kleiman said it will be difficult to set the price for marijuana since higher prices mean fewer buyers and less revenue, but low prices could increase youth use and adult abuse.
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