marijuana vaporizer

marijuana vaporizer

In Minnesota government policy will encourage people to vaporize marijuana instead of smoking it, and this could be easily be the start of a long term trend.

The Minnesota legislature decided to completely prohibit the actual smoking of marijuana plant material in their medical marijuana plan but instead allow people to vaporize cannabis extract. Vaporize-only rules were include in both the Senate and House medical marijuana bill and made it into the new compromise.

This was done mainly as a knee jerk attempt to create a distinction between “bad” recreational marijuana consumption and its medical use, but also due to some legitimate health concerns. More research still needs to be done, but indications are that vaporizing marijuana is better for your lungs than smoking.

While obviously the former won’t be an issue for new full marijuana legalization laws, I’ve predicted these same health concerns regarding actual smoking will likely play a noticeable role in the long term future of marijuana regulations.

As we move from a prohibition mentality to a “legal yet regulate” mentality we will see an important shift by government regulators. The focus will no longer be on how to stop adults from using marijuana, but rather how to make sure that if adults do so they do it in the safest way possible. This is why we already see rules in Colorado and Washington state require testing of recreational marijuana for potentially dangerous molds and proper labeling about the strength of products. From this perspective creating policy to encourage vaping over smoking might make sense.

I doubt any full legalization law will ever contain something as draconian as completely prohibiting marijuana smoking, but policymakers have many less blunt tools to nudge people towards or away from certain behaviors. Regulations could prohibit marijuana smoking at certain public venues or buildings but allow marijuana vaporizing. In addition, tax policy could be designed to financially favor one method over the other. Enough small policy advantages could produce a real shift in cultural norms.

We are only starting to see governments really grapple with the question of how we prefer adults consume marijuana now that we accept it is permitted. Given the health concerns regarding inhaling burning plant material and the availability of a similar alternative, don’t be surprised if future regulations are written to encourage one over the other.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy