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Economy going to pot?

More Americans are smoking pot. That's the finding of a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which says more than 17 million people, almost seven percent of the population, smoke marijuana illegally. That news pushes the Marketplace Index up a point today.

What? How can the news that more Americans are smoking weed push the index up?

Dude, relax. It's not so much that Americans are smoking more marijuana - it's that they're taking less in the way of more dangerous drugs. A lot less. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health also says that use of methamphetamines has fallen by about half over the last few years, and crack cocaine usage is also sharply lower. Amongst teens, smoking and drinking are down, and anecdotal evidence suggests that it's harder for teenagers to get illegal drugs today than it was in 2000.

With the markets giving us all whiplash these days, you might understand why that people might reach for a sedative now and then. But it's the news that people are using fewer hard drugs - even when times are hard - that's making us feel a lot better.

About the author

Paddy Hirsch is a Senior Editor at Marketplace and the creator and host of the Marketplace Whiteboard. Follow Paddy on Twitter @paddyhirsch and on facebook at www.facebook.com/paddyhirsch101
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I wrote an article on the Radical Thought of The Day blog about this and Eric Wilkinson just contributed an article for other uses of hemp on our Guest Articles page.

I wrote an article on the Radical Thought of The Day blog about this and Eric Wilkinson just contributed an article for other uses of hemp on our Guest Articles page.

I wrote an article on the Radical Thought of The Day blog about this and Eric Wilkinson just contributed an article for other uses of hemp on our Guest Articles page.

Steve, I agree completely! We have spent over $28 billion in total on the "war on drugs" this year to date. Considering that pot is the largest cash crop in multiple states, the amount we could make through taxation is staggering, at the same time reducing associated violence and crime surrounding a criminalized weed. Plus, there is not one documented case of someone OD'ing on pot, although freakouts abound from time to time... Like any drug (alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, pain killers, stimulants, opioids, etc..) care and moderation are the rule to follow. Legalize it!

You and Steve are not alone in thinking this way. Two years ago I was at the Milken Institute Conference and heard former Mexican Pres Vicente Fox calling for legalization of marijuana. Now Felipe Calderon is calling for a debate on legalization. Here's an article from the Economist on this.
http://www.economist.com/node/16791730

When are we going to legalize and tax it like alcohol? most teenagers will tell you it's harder to get alcohol than pot. If legal vendors faced the threat of losing their license like alcohol vendors, it might cut use among teenagers even further.

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