What if Big Marijuana behaves like Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco?
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And Kleiman, for his part, says edibles could be properly managed with strong regulations, some of which have been established in Colorado and Washington after several incidents, including Maureen Dowd's infamous New York Times op-ed, led to public outcry.
"It may be in the long run that eating it is safer," he said. And once you have a legal option, you know how much you're taking." Still, Kleiman said it will be a long time until the full effects of commercialization come to light.
In Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state, voters approved ballot initiatives for legalization.
But when advocates put measures on the ballot, they try to keep the language of the initiatives simple to avoid scaring off voters and giving too much leeway to lawmakers who might disagree with what voters choose to do.
"There's a bunch of stuff you could do," Kleiman said, "but that stuff is hard to do by initiative." The obvious alternative is state legislatures could pass their own marijuana legalization laws.
But with marijuana still a hot-button political issue, not many legislatures are moving in that direction.
Kleiman, who helped Washington state set up its marijuana regulations, says the simplicity of the ballot initiatives makes it difficult to get into the nuance of legalization.
If a state is bound by a voter-approved measure to allow private citizens and businesses to sell pot, it becomes much more difficult to set up more elaborate, regulated models of sales.
But as more states consider whether to take on legalization, the rising industry has become the main target for opponents of legal pot.
"If we're not careful, the marijuana industry could quickly become the next Big Tobacco," warns the website for Grass Is Not Greener, a campaign launched by the anti-legalization Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM).