Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Concluding on a high note: student papers highlight diversity of important marijuana law and policy topics

I was eager and excited to teach a law school seminar this past term focused on marijuana law, policy and reform in part because I have come to see how many diverse and dynamic legal and policy issues are raised and impacted by states legalizing medical and recreational marijuana use.  Last week, my students providing a fitting final demonstration of this reality when they turned in their final papers.  Below I provide the titles of the seminar papers submitted for this course:

You’re Fired…Maybe: How the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana Will Affect Employee and Employer Relations

The Anonymous Online Black Market

The Pliant Majority: Cognizing the Attitudinal Shift Toward Marijuana Legalization in America

The War on Federalism: Battleground Medical Marijuana

Federal Sentencing in Marijuana Offenses: How Should Federal Judges Reflect the National Changes in Policy When Sentencing Marijuana Offenders?

Marijuana or Xanax: the Lesser of Two Evils

Marijuana Policy and Immigration Law: Policing Borders, Blurring Lines, and Reforming Policies

Privacy Concerns Within the Ever-growing Marijuana Industry

Responsible Smoking – A Guide to Police Powers in a Recreational-Use State

Nuestra Voz Entre La Hierba: the Latino Vote and Marijuana Reform

“Weed Here, Get Your Weed Here!”:The First Amendment and Advertising Legalized Marijuana

Keeping the Flashing Lights On: Using Civil Forfeiture to Fund Law Enforcement by [Not] Punishing Drug Offenders

Additional Revenues for the City of Detroit and State of Michigan: An Initiative for Legalized Marijuana within the City of Detroit

Legalize and Tax Marijuana: The Path to a Better Fiscal Future for Ohio

A Guide to Marijuana Reform in the Buckeye State: How and Why Ohio Should Lead America’s March Towards Marijuana Legalization

Starting a Retail Marijuana Business: Colorado or Washington?

As these paper titles highlight, students used their final papers as an opportunity to explore employment law, cyber-law and markets, public opinion trends and minority voting patterns, privacy law, federalism, the First Amendment, federal sentencing and civil forfeitures, immigration law, and health law as well as the array of tax and business issues that surround marijuana reform policies and practices. (Once I finish grading all the papers, I am planning to post some or all of them in this space if I surmise there is reader interest.)

In some future "wrap-up" posts, I hope to discuss more broadly what I thought worked best (and did not work so well) in my development of this seminar. I also want to discuss a bit why I think I should probably wait until late 2015 or early 2016 to teach a course like this again.

Cross-posted at PrawfsBlawg

December 28, 2013 in Assembled readings on specific topics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Readings providing international/comparative perspectives on drug laws (especially marijuana)

Especially because I tend to be pretty under-informed about to international/comparative  drug laws, I am very excited that the student-selected topic for discussion this week in my Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform seminar is the global regime regarding marijuana and its impact on legalization efforts in the US.  Here are the readings assembled by the students as background:

I. International Law 

International Regulation of Drugs

  • Controlled Substances casebook, pp. 801-804 (International Framework);
  • pp. 813-820 (Impact of United State Policy on Mexico);
  • pp. 836-845 (International Control of Illegal Drugs, "Preventing or Causing Human Rights Violations");
  • pp. 916-921 (US using trade policy to enforce drug laws under the 1986 Narcotics Act)

UN and the power to stop legalization of Marijuana


  II. Comparative Law 

Further Comparative law reading:

1 .  WHO report on correlation of drug laws and drug abuse  

2.   North Korea and a marijuana legalization regime

3.   North Korea's meth addiction: Grau, Cutting off the Building Blocks to Methamphetamine Production, 30 Hous. J. Int’l L. 157 (2007);

4.  Reform of North Korea drug laws

November 5, 2013 in Assembled readings on specific topics, International Marijuana Laws and Policies | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How can, will, should the Fourth Amendment accomodate a new world order legalized marijuana?

The question in the title of this post is the question that one of the students in my Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform seminar is making the focus of our class discussion this week. Here is an outline of issues and resources that he prepared in conjunction with the question:

I. What is Probable Cause?  (Skim Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983))

    A. Consider Ohio's current approach to P.C./marijuana (Read State v. Moore, 90 Ohio St.3d 47, 2000-Ohio-10 (2000))

    B.  What is a "crime" for Fourth Amendment purposes  (Read Controlled Substances casebook pp. 193-209 (trafficking, etc))

Note: Give thought to issues surrounding drugged driving in this context

    C.  Special topic: drug dogs. When is a "sniff up to snuff?" (Read Florida v Harris, 133 S.Ct. 1050 (2013))

II. State (potential?) remedies

    A.  State Statutes (Consider Atwater v. Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001))

    B. State Constitutional Analogues

            -exclusionary rule?

            -fed actors?

October 22, 2013 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Recommended readings on marijuana reform and tax laws, policies and practices

Over the next two months, the students in my Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform seminar are "taking over" the class and classroom by selecting topics of special interest to them and assembling readings to provide the basis for our classroom discussions of these topics.  I am excited to be able to post those readings in this space, and the first week is devoted to coverage of tax issues.  Here is my students' recommended reading list with links to all the terrific reader-friendly resources they have assembled:

Sources addressing Colorado and Washington's tax plans General sources on marijuana taxation Sources addressing existing State/Federal/Local alcohol taxation

October 13, 2013 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Taxation information and issues | Permalink | Comments (0)