Although marijuana has been illegal under the Controlled Substances Act since 1970, that will inevitably change. With two-thirds of the country currently in favor of legalizing recreational use—a remarkable shift, rivaled only by polling trends on same-sex marriage—Congress is beginning to read the smoke signals. Late last month, for example, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize cannabis as a matter of federal law and expunge federal marijuana convictions.
It’s important that lawmakers get national cannabis policy right, which means both respecting each state’s prerogative to handle its own policy and allowing interstate marijuana trade among those states that legalize.
Currently, the 33 closed cannabis markets—that’s how many states have legalized medical marijuana, 10 of which have also legalized recreational use, with New York about to become the 11th—suffer under extreme disequilibrium. Supply far outstrips demand in places like Oregon, where dispensaries are selling marijuana