Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The paradox between tobacco and cannabis regulation

Earlier this week CNBC posted an article (part of  a special report on "Marijuana & Money") debating the business models of Big Tobacco and Big Pharma when it comes to the marketing and sale of legal cannabis. This article points to the larger debate about the legality and medical uses of cannabis. Here in Wisconsin a so-called "medical marijuana" bill was offered up but did not pass either house of the legislature.

Wisconsin's bill sought to provide for a registry of medical cannabis users and to de-criminalize the act of purchasing, possessing, growing, and using cannabis. There are very specific illnesses called out in the law such as Chrohn's Disease, AIDS, cancer, and other debilitating illnesses. 
With today being April 20th, a day of demonstrations across the globe asking for two things, first, the right to access medical cannabis; and second, to legalize cannabis for recreational use. There are really two segments of the pro-cannabis movement medical and recreational users. However one approaches the issue of legalization there is an interesting debate that rests a between regulation of tobacco and the potential for regulation of legal cannabis. What does tobacco control have to teach the medical marijuana movement?

Should cannabis be legal? Only in cases of medical use? Should it be taxed and regulated like tobacco? Should it be treated like a pharmaceutical drug? A recent AP-CNBC survey  showed that public opinion is swaying towards medical use. Should marijuana become legal it could be taxed like cigarettes, prohibited from being smoked in public places like tobacco, and people could even be prevented from driving under the influence like alcohol. The question remains- how would legal cannabis fit within the framework of tobacco control? Treated the same or differently? Drug delivery device or more like tobacco? What are your thoughts? Comments welcomed!

The CNBC article debated who is a better fit to market cannabis- Big Tobacco or Big Pharma? With Big Tobacco clearly having the one up on distribution-- Big Pharma has the ability to make the product safer for use. To read more about this debate check out the CNBC Article

1 comment:

jocelyn said...

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