Amendment 64: Should the state run commercial shops for recreational marijuana?
State-run pot shops would have the support of at least one task force member: Christian Thurstone, an addiction expert who generally opposes legalization because he believes it increases youth smoking risks.
State-run operations, he argues, would not have the same profit motives as private commercial establishments -- which, he says, would limit underage smoking.
Thurstone argues that with alcohol and tobacco, profits largely come from "heavy users" who often start at young ages, thereby giving businesses incentives to target them.
"If you're really profit-driven, you really have to have a way to develop these new users and get them while they're young," says Thurstone, who is not on the regulatory working group.
"I think it's worth looking into that to see if that might be a way to really tighten this up, so teenagers aren't using," he says.
A64 legalizes pot for adults 21 and older and supporters say legalization allows for better regulation of underage use.
But in Thurstone's view, the actions of alcohol and tobacco industries show that legalization of marijuana could create similar private industries that ultimately increase illegal use by minors.
"We don't want to make that mistake again," he says.
It's still early in the task force process, but Thurstone says he expects a range of opposition to this kind of idea -- from individuals who would want to open private shops to others who believe in limited government.
"You always gotta have hope," he says, "Although I think it's probably a long shot."
Here's the full handout from the regulatory framework group, which includes mention of state-run retail shops.
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