Frequent marijuana smokers tend to be skeptical of the Rand Corporation,
for all the reasons heavy drug users are usually wary of multinational
think tanks. Based on the way the RAND press shop is framing the
corporation's research on Proposition
, the California ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana
in the state, these fears might not seem so unfounded. While the
on the research proclaims legalizing marijuana "will not
dramatically reduce Mexican drug trafficking revenues" (a talking point
about the study repeated verbatim), FireDogLake's Jon
observes the data itself tells a very different story.
their newest report about marijuana legalization, the Rand Corporation
buries the lede from their own study, one which strongly supporters the
anti-cartel claims made by marijuana reformers. While not part of the
press release, the study, in fact, backs up one of the main arguments of
the supporters of marijuana legalization. The study determines
legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana could eliminate all the
profits the Mexican drug cartels currently make thanks to cannabis
Walker cites this passage from the Rand report
(PDF) as evidence. (Note: DTO stands for drug-trafficking
We believe that legalizing marijuana in California
would effectively eliminate Mexican DTOs’ revenues from supplying
Mexican-grown marijuana to the California market. As we elaborate in
this chapter, even with taxes, legally produced marijuana would likely
cost no more than would illegal marijuana from Mexico and would cost
less than half as much per unit of THC (Kilmer, Caulkins, Pacula, et
al., 2010). Thus, the needs of the California market would be supplied
by the new legal industry. While, in theory, some DTO employees might
choose to work in the legal marijuana industry, they would not be able
to generate unusual profits, nor be able to draw on talents that are
particular to a criminal organization.
In Rand Corp.'s defense, they were totally high at the time.
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