It Worked for Gambling…

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Over at Slate, University of Virginia law professor Tim Wu speculates about the possibility of a WTO complaint aimed at opening the U.S. marijuana market to foreign competition.

[Thanks to Don Heath for the link.]

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  1. So an unelected foreign tribunal has the right to overrule the drug policies of the U. S. government and the states? And the same foreign tribunal can even declare the federal system itself illegal and irrational? You don’t have to be a prohibitionist to object to this possibility.

    Not to say we can’t make jokes about it. “The tribunal has examined the evidence, and after considerable examination . . . and more examination . . . man, can I have some more evidence?”

  2. I love it! Could it be that the WTO is good for something afterall?

  3. I read this article yesterday and immediately thought “I can’t believe Jacob Sollum didn’t write this”.
    The thought of the WTO suddenly being championed in college campuses around the country is funny. You have to admit that.

  4. Just as the destruction of the Ring fell to the most unlikely person imaginable (Gollum), it could be that the destruction of prohibition will fall to the most unlikely organization imaginable.

    Perhaps Bush will be our Bilbo. Be glad that Bush obeyed the decision of the WTO on steel tariffs. One day, Bush’s moment of free trade might rule the fate of millions.

    And I see nothing inappropriate about hobbit jokes in a thread about weed. Hobbits love mushrooms and pipeweed. Need I say more?

  5. So an unelected foreign tribunal has the right to overrule the drug policies of the U. S. government and the states?

    Technically, the U.S. government overruled itself when it signed up to be part of the WTO.

    Even if it were true, it would be a nice change from the U.S. dictating drug policies to the rest of the world. Not just with market pressure but military force.

  6. Bonar: The WTO’s authority in the matter is restricted to restraint of trade. Which is quite apposite, since it’s on the pretext of regulating interstate trade that the federal government overrides state drug laws.

    Moreover, US compliance with the WTO is entirely voluntary – though if it doesn’t comply then other sovereign states may choose to impose trade sanctions, as they’re perfectly entitled to do.

  7. That’s right. The U.S. can refuse to honor such a WTO ruling, and then the WTO will allow the “plaintiffs” to put a tariff on some exports from the U.S.

    thoreau,

    The WTO has done a lot of good work – from calling bullshit on the beef hormones regulation in the E.U., to U.S. bans on tuna that isn’t “dolphin-safe,” to America’s stupid “reformulated gas” regulation, etc.

  8. WTO = World Toker’s Organization?

    Hey, we can always hope.

  9. What will the WTO say about marijuana taxes?

  10. thoreau,

    So long foreign and domestic marijuana is taxed equivalently, the WTO doesn’t have a problem with it for the most part.

  11. That article pissed me off with how it implicitly agreed that marijuana was inherently harmful i.e. “crashed cars”, “disease” …etc No analysis of how, how much, why & how it can be contained. Oh well..

  12. I thought the US was also party to international treaties (UN-related?) that required certain action on “drugs of abuse”. Certainly in Canada during marijuana decriminalization debates, the fact that Canada was party to such treaties (conventions? is there a difference between a “treaty” and a “convention”?) was mentioned as a factor limiting the extent to which drug laws could be liberalized. (I do not claim this to be certain knowledge on my part, this is a “I thought I once read something to this effect, anybody know more about it?”)

    Anyhow, BC (Canada) pot growers seem to be getting plenty of access to the US pot market, by all reports. But I’m sure they wouldn’t mind more.

  13. As Penry has pointed out, the WTO process didn’t work for gambling. Gambling web sites are still illegal in the US and it appears they’ll stay that way.

    I wish the WTO had the “teeth” to enforce free trade on the US.

  14. And I see nothing inappropriate about hobbit jokes in a thread about weed. Hobbits love mushrooms and pipeweed. Need I say more?

    What’s inappropriate about your post (as I myself am a vested authority on inappropriate postings) is that you, thoreau, are confusing wasteoids and nerds. The mighty wasteoids concern themselves not with hobbits and trolls, but with cheetos, pizza, psychadelic rock, and the like. Save your nerdspeak for a Star Trek thread! 😛

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