What Is Tyler Smoking?
By Bryan Caplan
Am I the only person who’s noticed that Tyler has gone straight from predicting that marijuana legalization would never happen to Straussian fretting about the large effect of legalization on use?
Tyler’s original prediction was based on a strange voting model:
When it comes to marijuana legalization,
I believe that the “anti-” forces will muster as many parental votes as
they need to, to defeat it when they need to. The elasticity of supply
is nearly infinite at relevant margins. Legalization may appear
“close” for a long time, but in equilibrium it will not spread very
far. The “no” votes will pop up as needed.
I found this story absurd because…
…voter turnout isn’t very flexible in general, probably isn’t very
flexible with respect to one marginal issue, and almost certainly falls
far short of “nearly infinite” elasticity. I strongly prefer the
common-sense view that when legalization appears close, it is close.
True, Tyler could double down on his original story. Maybe the large increase in use will galvanize parental voters, triggering re-criminalization. But I’m happy to bet against this scenario. The large increase in pot use notwithstanding, legalization will spread – not retreat.