The war on drugs has always been expensive and its effectiveness debatable, but in the current budget-crunch environment, it's more of a target than ever. Proponents of legalization say billions of dollars could be saved in law enforcement costs. Opponents say the fight is working and worth it.
Labs like Full Spectrum and Steep Hill are springing up to serve the medical marijuana dispensaries and patients in states like Colorado and California to test the strength and purity of the drug.
The case against licensed marijuana grower Chris Bartkowicz in Colorado epitomizes many of the contradictions and much of the confusion surrounding the enforcement of marijuana laws these days.
The pro-pot lobby is basically like any other: PACs and big-name contributors, and meetings at The Capitol, even the White House. It's the new Norml, so to speak. And the new message? It's the economy, dude.
Marijuana laws differ drastically state-to-state. Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico and Oregon are the most lenient, but Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are catching up.
In most states the legalization of marijuana is not even on the horizon. In some cases, there is a long history of conservative thinking or politicians are vehemently opposed to drug use. Call it cannabis non gratis.
Jeffrey Miron's sabbatical at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. in the second half of the 1980s didn't turn out the way he expected. He gradually abandoned macroeconomics to focus on drug policy and economics in crime.
Portugal and Spain provide as good as an example as The Netherlands. In both countries, the drug is illegal, but you'd never know it based on some quirky technicalities. The general trend is about prevention, not punishment.
If you are a legal medical marijuana patient on the East Coast, getting your hands on your medicine could be a matter of life or death.