Thursday, April 27, 2017
The title of this post is the title of this notable newly updated report with newly updated statistics about the road-safety problems created by drugged driving. Here is a part of the report's introduction and background:
This report, originally released in September 2015, was prepared by Dr. James Hedlund under contract with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the national association of state and territorial highway safety offices that address behavioral highway-safety issues, including drugimpaired driving. An open forum on drugged driving at GHSA’s 2014 Annual Meeting noted the need for this type of resource. Funding was provided by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org).
This revision, also prepared by Dr. Hedlund, updated the report to April 2017. It includes 34 additional citations, drug-impaired driving data from 2015, state laws as of April 2017, and 15 state programs.
The report was guided by an advisory panel of experts from the states, the research community, and several organizations concerned with impaired driving. It provides references to research and position papers, especially papers that summarize the research on drugs and driving that have appeared in the last 20 years. It includes information obtained by GHSA from a survey of state highway safety offices. It does not attempt to be a complete review of the extensive information available on drugs and driving.
Drug-impaired driving is an increasingly critical issue for states and state highway safety offices. In 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reported that drugs were present in 43% of the fatally-injured drivers with a known test result, more frequently than alcohol was present (FARS, 2016). NHTSA’s 2013–2014 roadside survey found drugs in 22% of all drivers both on weekend nights and on weekday days (Berning et al., 2015).
In particular, marijuana use is increasing. As of April 2017, marijuana may be used for medical purposes in 29 states and the District of Columbia (NCSL, 2017a). The most recent is West Virginia, which authorized medical marijuana in April 2017, with use to begin in July 2019. Recreational use is allowed in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia and 13 other states have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana (NCSL, 2016). Congress identified drug-impaired driving as a priority in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 (https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/). This multi-year highway bill directed NHTSA to develop education campaigns to increase public awareness about the dangers associated with drugged driving. The Act also required the Department of Transportation to study the relationship between marijuana use and driving impairment and to identify effective methods to detect marijuana-impaired drivers. Legislatures, law enforcement, and highway safety offices in many states are urged to “do something” about drug-impaired driving, but what to do is far from clear.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
The title of this post is how West Academic Publishing is promoting its latest notable nutshell publication authored by Mark Osbeck and Howard Bromberg. In part because I think it is near impossible to summarize modern marijuana law in short form, I view this nutshell effort as extraordinary in various respects. And here is how West briefly describes the product:
Concise yet comprehensive text that provides an overview of marijuana law. It discusses important issues pertaining to public policy, legal history, constitutional law, criminal law, and jurisprudence, as well as practical legal issues that concern both marijuana-related businesses and individuals, in areas such as banking, employment, tax, bankruptcy, and child custody.
The text provides in-depth coverage of federal laws governing marijuana, along with an overview of international, state, and local laws relating to marijuana regulation. It also provides an overview of arguments for and against medical and/or recreational legalization, as well as an analysis of how marijuana compares to other potentially harmful substances, both legal and illegal.
April 26, 2017 in Assembled readings on specific topics, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Medical Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Examining interaction between the marijuana legalization and crime rates, accidents and other feared harms
Empirical article published in March 2014, "The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data, 1990-2006"
Cato policy analysis published in September 2016, "Dose of Reality: The Effect of State Marijuana Legalizations" Empirical article published in December 2015,
Friday, April 14, 2017
As noted in this prior post, this past week a student in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar presented on the law, policies and practices surrounding banking activities for the marijuana industry. But this issue is so big and important, another student also spent the semester looking at this topic, and here are additional resources he sent my way in preparation for his coming coverage of the issue in class:
My paper is on the intersection of the marijuana laws and the banking industry but also details attempted risk management and solutions via technology. Technologies such as cryptocurrencies and third party payment apps such as Paypal and Venmo have all toed the line of anti-money laundering statutes. Likewise, I address third party apps that perform due diligence for the banking industry by way of seed to sale tracking systems and point of sale systems thereby reducing risk for the banks.
The following are articles relevant to my paper. I did not want to send FinCEN guidance or the 2014 Cole Memo as they have already been posted here.
An article detailing the secrecy of big banks working with the marijuana industry and suggesting that the banking woes may not be as deep rooted as once thought.
A link to podcasts from past Crypto Cannabis Conferences discussing cryptocurrencies in the marijuana industry.
An article which details one of the many tech startups attempting to reduce risk for banks by performing due diligence in compliance with FinCEN guidance and the Cole memos.
An article describing an alternative payment system for the marijuana industry
Monday, April 10, 2017
A student in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar is looking closely at the law, policies and practices surrounding banking activities for the marijuana industry, and he has provided for class reading the following links in preparation for his presentation this coming week:
Federal regulation on "Suspicious Activity Report"
Press article from 2014, "U.S. Issues Marijuana Guidelines for Banks"
FinCEN guidance on "BSA Expectations Regarding Marijuana-Related Businesses"
Blog posting from January 2017 on "Marijuana Banking Band-Aid? Senators Push For More Cannabis Banking Guidance"
Press article from April 2017 on "Marijuana-state govs ask feds to maintain status quo"
Sunday, April 9, 2017
A student in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar is looking closely at the laws and policies surrounding marijuana advertising, and he has provided for class reading the following cases (and one video) in preparation for his presentation this coming week:
1. Va. State Bd. of Pharmacy v. Va. Citizens Consumer Council, Inc., 425 U.S. 748 (1976).
2. Cent. Hudson Gas & Elec. Corp. v. Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 447 U.S. 557 (1980).
3. FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 529 U.S. 120, 161 (2000).
Monday, April 3, 2017
Among the many exciting topics for student presentations in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar this coming wee is a look at "recent trends and varying approaches in allowing/restricting home growing marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes and the plant count and possession limitations these laws impose." As preparation for this topic, my student has provided these links for background reading:
Law review article: Ryan Stoa, “Marijuana Appellations: The Case for Cannabicultural Designations of Origins.”
A research paper expounding upon the possible iterations of a post-legalization marijuana market in the United States. Predictions concerning the form of a future market and the potential regulatory hurdles in the way. The possibility of the marijuana market evolving similarly to the wine industry and avoiding the widespread concern with “Big Marijuana."
Press article: "Costs of Growing Cannabis at Home vs. Buying Bud at a Dispensary"
A helpful guide comparing the costs to a consumer of either cultivating their own marijuana or simply purchasing marijuana from a dispensary.
A recent article from Denver concerning home grown marijuana entering into the black market.
A helpful visual summary of which states have adopted medical/recreational marijuana policies.
Press article: "Home Cannabis Cultivation Laws by State"
A quick reference to the laws of each state that has legalized marijuana for recreational or medical purposes with regard to home cultivation.
April 3, 2017 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Medical Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)
One of my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar students is taking a deep dive into products and processes involving cannabis without THC, giving particular attention to the "murky issues relating to CBD oil and the extraction of oils from all cannaboids." For this topic, my student has provided for posting here "some interesting articles about CBD oil, hemp and the implications for the USDA and FDA [that reveal] some conflicting reports about legality, organic certification and other important matters" as background for his presentation:
April 3, 2017 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)
Sunday, April 2, 2017
As readers know from recent posts, my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar students deep into their class presentations and we have a big final few weeks afoot. One student this coming week is looking at labor and employment law issues, and here are the materials this student has prepared for background on this topic:
April 2, 2017 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Marijuana Policy Within Professional Sports -- Arguments For and Against League Acceptance and Player Use
In my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar, there is often interest in exploring how professional sports leagues deal with marijuana issues (and the issue changes dynamically nearly every year). This year is no different, and I am excited to review the materials and hear the presentation of this year's student addressing the topic that serves as the title of this post. Here are several links to articles sent to me by the student in preparation for his presentation:
A terrific guest speaker for part of my last class means that my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar students are going to be making a large number of class presentations this week. So, blog readers should be prepared and excited to be seeing a bunch of posting about diverse topics that are the focal point for student work. For example, one student is focused on medical marijuana "start ups" in the Buckeye State, and he has provided the following synopsis and links as a preview of his presentation:
The conflict of Ohio law and applicable federal law on medical marijuana presents a myriad of legal issues for individuals and businesses to consider when deciding whether to participate in the new cannabis industry. But because federal law preempts conflicting state law, the primary goal of participants should be to manage the risk of federal enforcement uncertainty to an acceptable level. For those who are willing and able to manage the risk of uncertainty, participation in the new cannabis industry is not just about making money -it’s also about making history. Meanwhile, those who are unable to navigate the complex contours of cannabis law are left watching from the sidelines.
1. Federal Preemption: Risk of Forfeiture. August 2013 Cole Memo; The Role of Local Law Enforcement in Civil Forfeiture
2. Local Government Law: Risk of Local Zoning/Land Use Restrictions. Ohio H.B. 523; Garcia v. Siffrin Residential Ass'n, 63 Ohio St. 2d 259, 407 N.E.2d 1369 (1980)
3. Banking Law: Risk of Money Laundering Liability. BSA Expectations Regarding Marijuana-Related Businesses.
4. Intellectual Property Law: Risk of Unsecured Enforcement Rights. In re Morgan Brown, U.S.P.T.O. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Serial No. 86/362,968 (2016); In re Christopher C. Hinton, U.S.P.T.O. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Serial No. 85/713,080 (2015).
5. Tax Law: Risk of Preclusion. Capitalization of Inventoriable Costs; Californians Helping to Alleviate Med. Problems, Inc. v. Comm'r, 128 T.C. 173 (2007).
6. Employment Law: Risk of Disputes. Ohio HB 523; Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 695 F.3d 428 (6th Cir. 2012).
April 1, 2017 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Medical Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, March 23, 2017
The title of this post is the title suggested by a student in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar as a preview of his planned presentation to the class next week. Here are the resources the student assembled as background on this topic to go with the great title (which leads to show my age by thinking "tastes great/less filling"):
1. Sam Kamin, Legal Cannabis in the U.S.: Not Whether, But How?, 50 UC Davis L. Rev. 617 (2016).
2. Jeffrey M. Jones, In U.S., 58% Back Legal Marijuana Use, Gallup (Oct. 21, 2015)
3. Abigail Geiger, Support for Marijuana Legalization Continues to Rise, Pew Research Center, Oct. 12, 2016
4. Kevin Loria, 11 Key Findings from One of the Most Comprehensive Reports Ever on the Health Effects of Marijuana, Business Insider, Jan. 12, 2017,
5. Ryan Stoa, Is Big Marijuana Inevitable?, The New Republic, Aug. 19, 2016
6. Debra Borchardt, Marijuana Sales Totaled $6.7 Billion in 2016, Forbes, Jan. 3, 2017
7. Robert Benzie, Recreational Weed Could Be A $22.6 Billion Industry: Study, The Toronto Star, Oct. 27, 2016,
8. Angela Dills, Sietse Goffard, & Jeffrey Miron, Dose of Reality: The Effect of State Marijuana Legalizations, The Cato Institute, Sep. 16, 2016,
9. Jeffrey A. Miron & Katherine Waldock, The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition, The Cato Institute (2010)
10. Beau Kilmer, Trump's Marijuana Options, The Hill (Jan. 17, 2017)
Monday, March 20, 2017
As noted in recent posts, my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar students, after a well-deserved Spring Break, are hearing presentations this week about marijuana reform's intersection with immigration (background here) and education (background here). If these presentations (or other realities) end up inspiring my students to want to get into the marijuana industry in the Buckeye State, a third student presentation this week has them covered. Specifically, a student this coming week is presenting on "advising a marijuana dispensary in Ohio," and here are the materials this student has assembled for the planned presentation:
Article discussing 501(C)(4) tax emption (webpage includes link to a law review article for those interested)
Posting on taxation of marijuana dispensaries (includes text of 280E as well as a link to the IRS memo regarding taxation, Memo 201504011, for further optional reading)
---- For further reading on the taxation issue: "Tax Planning for Marijuana Dealers"
Memo summarizing Ohio dispensary rules (with changes after comment period)
---- For further reading, check out the “Dispensary Rules” section of OMMCP website
For more information (not Ohio specific) about industry activity as cultivator or processor and for more general business advice, see "Marijuana Business: How to Open and Successfully Run a Marijuana Dispensary and Grow Facility" (free on Amazon’s Kindle unlimited)
Thursday, March 16, 2017
After a Spring Break break, my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar students are back next week to continue making presentations based on their selected marijuana-related research issue. A student this coming week is exploring the ever-so-timely topic of immigration and its intersection with marijuana laws and policies. Here are the resources the student assembled as background on this topic:
1. Press article: "If pot is legalized, it can still have big consequences for certain immigrants"
2. Press article: "When Immigrants are Deported for Smoking weed"
3. Press Article: "How Marijuana Gets People Deported, In 5 Simple Charts"
4. Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) Report: "Immigration Impact: Analysis of the Adult Use of Marijuana"
5. Law review article: "Nonserious Marijuana Offenses and Noncitizens: Uncounseled Pleas and Disproportionate Consequences"
Monday, March 6, 2017
Examining studies on marijuana and THC in the treatment of psychiatric diseases and CBD in the treatment of neurological disorders
As recent posts highlight, my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar is now deep into the part of the semester in which student are making presentation based on their selected marijuana-related research issue. One student this coming week is exploring "the use of THC in the treatment of psychiatric diseases, in comparison to the use of CBD in the treatment of neurological disorders." Here are the studies the student plans to discuss:
Studies on the application of CBD to neurological disorders:
Studies on the Application of THC to psychological disorders:
Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa (illustrating that anxiety, typically thought to be reduced by THC, may experience greater reduction thorough CBD)
Sunday, March 5, 2017
Regular readers know I am quite interested in the connections and linkages between marijuana reform and opioid use and abuse. Thus I am especially excited a student presentation in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar this coming week is focused on this topic. The student addressing this issue has assembled the following background reading:
Friday, March 3, 2017
The question in the title of this post is the question being raised by a student presentation in in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar next week. The student addressing this issue has assembled the following background reading:
1. Press article: "11 key findings from one of the most comprehensive reports ever on the health effects of marijuana"
2. Information from the FDA: "What is the approval process for a new prescription drug?"
3. More from the FDA: "FDA and Marijuana"
4. Press article: "Most uses of medical marijuana wouldn't pass FDA review, study finds"
5. Press article: "When Your State Says Yes To Medical Marijuana, But Your Insurer Says No"
What are the possibilities and foundations supporting a constutional argument for access to marijuana?
The question in the title of this post is the question being raised by a student presentation in in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar next week. (It is also a question that has become ever more timely in light of recent suggestions by members of the Trump Administration that we may soon be seeing "greater enforcement" of federal marijuana prohibition.) The student addressing this issue has assembled the following background reading:
U.S. Supreme Court Cases recognizing a right to privacy and autonomy:
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
Stanley v. Georgia (1969)
Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)
March 3, 2017 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Reviewing ups-and-downs and defeat in 2015 of Ohio effort to legalize recreational marijuana via Issue 3
I am excited to remind readers (and also my students) that it is that time of year again: students in my Ohio State University Moritz College of Law marijuana reform seminar are gearing up to begin in-class presentations. This means, inter alia, that this blog space will be filled in coming weeks with links and materials provided by my students as a background/preview for their coming presentation.
The first of the scheduled presentations involves a review of this history (and epic fail) of Issue 3, the 2015 campaign in Ohio seeking passage of a state constitutional amendment that would have fully legalized marijuana in the Buckeye State and put the rights to grow marijuana in the hands of a small group of financial backers of the initiative campaign. The student making this presentations has suggested the following reading for classmates (and any others interested in recalling this tale):
"Is Responsible Ohio's mascot Buddie 'the Joe Camel of marijuana'?"(Oct 21, 2015 press article)
"On Ballot, Ohio Grapples With Specter of Marijuana Monopoly" (Nov 1, 2015 press article)
Proposed Constitutional Amendment Issue 2: "Anti-monopoly amendment; protects the initiative process from being used for personal economic benefit"
Proposed Constitutional Amendment Issue 3: "Grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes"
"Ohioans reject legalizing marijuana" (Nov 4, 2015 press article)
UPDATE: And here is one more: "Will Ohio's Marijuana Amendment Go up in Smoke" (Sept/Oct Ohio Lawyer article)
February 22, 2017 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Initiative reforms in states, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, February 3, 2017
I’m happy to announce that my first-of-its-kind textbook on Marijuana Law, Policy, and Authority will soon be published by Aspen. It will be out in April (in e form) and May (in print). The teacher’s manual and a companion website will be available soon thereafter. Many thanks to Doug and others who have provided helpful feedback on this book over the last 2.5 years!
The book covers a lot of ground, befitting a field that implicates so many different areas of law. The first chapter of the book is now available on SSRN. That chapter provides more details about the book’s coverage and approach, and it also explains why this is such an interesting and worthwhile area of law to study – and not just for those who are interested in practicing in this burgeoning field.
Not coincidentally, I will be posting more this month (both here and at Prawfsblawg) on topics drawn from the book. My first post at Prawfsblawg briefly laid out the case for teaching and writing about marijuana law. Even though most people who read this blog are already sold on the subject, I’ll copy the relevant passage here:
“For one thing, state marijuana reforms and the federal response to them have sparked some of the most challenging and interesting legal controversies of our day. May the states legalize a drug while Congress forbids it? Even so, are state regulations governing marijuana preempted by federal law? Does anyone (besides the DOJ) have a cause of action to challenge them as such? Can the President suspend enforcement of the federal ban? Do state restrictions on marijuana industry advertising violate the First Amendment? These are just a handful of the intriguing questions that are now being confronted in this field.
Just as importantly, there is a large and growing number of people who care about the answers to such questions. Forty-three (43) states and the District of Columbia have legalized possession and use of some form of marijuana by at least some people. These reforms – not to mention the prohibitions that remain in place at the federal level – affect a staggering number of people. Roughly 40% of adults in the U.S. have tried marijuana, and more than 22 million people use the drug regularly. To supply this demand, thousands of people are growing and selling marijuana. In Colorado alone, for example, there are more than 600 state licensed marijuana suppliers. There are also countless third parties who regularly deal with these users and suppliers, including physicians who recommend marijuana to patients, banks that provide payment services to the marijuana industry, firms that employ marijuana users, and lawyers who advise all of the above.
All of these people need help navigating a thicket of complicated and oftentimes conflicting laws governing marijuana. Colorado, for example, has promulgated more than 200 pages of regulations to govern its $1 billion a year licensed marijuana industry. Among many other things, Colorado’s regulations require suppliers to carefully track their inventories, test and label their products, and limit where and how they advertise. These regulations are complicated enough but doubts about their enforceability (highlighted in the questions above) only add to the confusion and the need for informed legal advice.”
In the coming weeks, I will blog about some of the questions noted above. In the meantime, if you are interested in teaching a course or a unit on any aspect of marijuana law, contact me – robert<dot>mikos<at>vanderbilt<dot>edu -- I would be happy to chat.
February 3, 2017 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Books, Business laws and regulatory issues, Current Affairs, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Medical Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Political perspective on reforms, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, State court rulings, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (2)