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April 2007
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Outlawing candy

You may have followed the politicians around the country outraged (outraged, I say) over the sales of marijuana-flavored candy. Have you tried any of this candy? I have, and it’s an acquired taste at best. It’s a novelty, a curiosity — not something that’s going to replace Butterfingers. If you were to give the candy to most children, they’d take one lick, spit it out and then punch you for giving them something so foul tasting. But politicians see it as another thing to outlaw in the name of the war on drugs.
Jacob Sullum does a great job of taking this apart in Lollipop Lickers: The fight against marijuana-flavored candy is a fight against pro-drug speech.

Crawford, whose group’s website features a photo of an angry-looking baby sucking on a bright green lollipop, suggests that cannabis-flavored candy may “fall into the hands of unsuspecting youth” and “serve as a gateway product for future marijuana use.” A Pennsylvania legislator says “it is really frightening to develop a taste for marijuana in children through lollipops.”
Such warnings fundamentally misconstrue the appeal of both marijuana (which people do not smoke mainly for its flavor) and candy that tastes like it. It’s marijuana that makes the candy cool, not the other way around.
And what makes marijuana cool? To a large extent, the government’s efforts to prevent its consumption. The legal moves against marijuana-flavored candy can be expected to have a similar effect.

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