January 2, 2020 1:57PM

The Wall Street Journal Gets It Wrong On Marijuana Prohibition

On December 25, 2019 the Wall Street Journal had an editorial that discussed the involvement of bootleg THC vaping cartridges in the recent outbreak of vaping‐​related lung illnesses. For an editorial board that is usually very sophisticated in understanding and applying economics, I was very disappointed to witness how biases against the recreational use of marijuana and other currently illicit drugs can cloud the usually clear reasoning of the editors. Not only did the editorial cherry‐​pick facts to perpetuate unproven or long‐​discredited dogmas about the harmful effects of marijuana—a drug not nearly as dangerous as alcohol—but it also seemed to ignore the harmful unintended consequences that result from prohibition, which has a lot to do with the “Vaping‐​Marijuana Nexus.” This should never escape the attention of editorialists who are knowledgeable in economics. I was particularly disappointed in light of the editorial board’s history of opposing punitive taxes on tobacco and other politically incorrect but legal products, recognizing that such “sin taxes” only fuel an often‐​dangerous black market. My disappointment and frustration moved me to write this letter to the editor, which the Journal was gracious enough to publish today.