The Benefits of Unregulated Pot

California's "wild west" demonstrates the domesticating power of capitalism.

(Page 2 of 2)

Now the cellophane packaging of the late 1990s has given way to labels that resemble those of any supermarket food item. Legalization opened the door for more aggressive marketing and easier information sharing, and these forces naturally foster a more standardized environment.

Over time, even if California maintains its semi-resigned commitment to laissez faire, market forces will eventually drive more dispensaries to engage the services of third-party services such as testing laboratories. "When liability becomes a real issue for all these businesses, they'll be testing everything like every food company does today," Martin says. "They want to make sure that they have data in-house to prove that their product was leaving their shelves clean."

Government regulation would surely hasten this process. But the move toward greater transparency, more information, and an emphasis on product safety and consumer empowerment has been animating California's medical marijuana industry since its inception. As legislators and industry advocates alike insist that legal marijuana requires detailed codes and regulations and high-level governmental coddling, California's experience suggests otherwise. In the wild, wild west, at least, reefer madness proved no match for the domesticating influence of capitalism.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • MSimon||

    A price of $10 a gram (4,536 an lb $283 an oz) seems a tad high. But I don't live in CA. Or know where to even buy the stuff. I just read about it.

  • Adam.||

    283 an oz seems like what my friends in colorado have been saying

  • bassjoe||

    That's reasonable, actually. In Berkeley in the early 2000s, that was the going price for a gram of good stuff (and $40-50 for an eighth). Prices were similar throughout NorCal; prices were less in SoCal but their pot sucked. Clearly, I do not know these things from personal knowledge........

    The fact that prices have NOT gone up (while I'm sure quality has) in over a decade is the surprising thing to me...

  • DJK||

    40 per eighth is the going rate.

  • DJK||

    That's in the Bay Area.

    Why are you surprised that quality has gone up but prices haven't? That's generally one of the positive effects of competition that we free marketeers harp on over and over.

  • bassjoe||

    Eh...inflation, as well as the costs of quality testing, rent, lawyers, those $12,000 trimmers (trimming was done for free by a roomful of stoners just excited to be involved in the process back then). Taking all that into account, I would still expect to see some upward pressure on prices. But, yes, I'm wrong... and happy to see that I am.

  • misthiocracy||

    With apologies to P.J. O'Rourke, if you thought marijuana was expensive before, just wait how expensive it is once it's legal!

  • florrichd553||

    my classmate's mother makes 86 USD/hour on the laptop. She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her pay check was 21256 USD just working on the laptop for a few hours. visit this web-site

  • bassjoe||

    "There were no allergen statements, no caloric impact statements, nothing but a brownie full of pot. God knows how much pot, though, so you only better eat a little bit. If you ate too much, you could be very uncomfortable. It could send you to the emergency room with an anxiety attack."
    That sounds like Dolores Park in SF on a Saturday... from what I've heard.

  • Jackand Ace||

    I know this is about pot, but it lumps in with Reason's call for an end to the ineffectual war on drugs. I see that this President just commuted the sentences of 11 people convicted under crack cocaine offenses, under penalties that have since become too harsh. But nonetheless, he commuted those sentences. Maybe a step in the right direction by the federal government? Think any current Tea Party person would have done similarly? I'll give you Rand Paul, but even there I have my doubts, because that kind of act does not sit well in red-state America.

  • Nixonfan||

    The Tea Party takes no position on this issue. The Tea Party wants limited government.

  • Jackand Ace||

    But Reason does, and it is a strong supporter of the Tea Party. Just pointing out that this President is taking a small step in the direction Reason would like to go, and its a step most Tea Partiers in Congress would not take. But you tell me, do you think Gomert, Bachmann, Gingrey, Huelscamp, or pick any of you think they would have commuted the sentences of crack cocaine users because the penalties were to harsh?

  • PH2050||

    Jesus H. Christ, you are a TEAM piece of shit. Just type "BOOOOOSH!!!11" to save space next time.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Don't read it if you don't like it.

  • SuperOBD SKP-100||

    Most people like this "Benefits".

  • Nixonfan||

    Just think of all the jobs that will be created by the California Ministry of Cannabis Control. We have a State Liquor Control Board here in PA, and it employs thousands.

  • twoscoopsofpig||

    A correction:

    "our nation's largest state, which doubles as the world's eighth-largest economy"

    California is neither, actually. Alaska is the largest (663,267.26 sq. mi.), Texas second (268,580.82 sq. mi.), California third (163,695.57 sq. mi.). Furthermore, even if we presuppose that California is its own sovereign nation for this comparison, it still ranks 12th behind Canada. It is the largest state economy though ($1,735,360,000,000), with Texas coming in 2nd ($1,149,908,000,000 - 16th as a nation) with New York in third ($1,016,350,000,000 - 18th as a nation).

  • Michael Barger||

    The current murky state of California regulation of pot is just fine. Once it is completely legalized liberals will not be able to resist regulating and taxing it to death.

  • MaggieMansfielddva||

    uptil I saw the draft for $8854, I accept brother was like realie earning money in their spare time online.. there brothers friend haz done this 4 only about seven months and recently paid for the depts on there home and bought a gorgeous volvo. see page

  • misthiocracy||

    Am I the only one who is confused when libertarians praise the proliferation of government regulation?

    With marijuana, where there was one regulation (don't do it), now there are many regulations (you can do it, if you follow the following several hundred - and counting - rules).


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties