Monday, October 3, 2016
In just five weeks, Californians will vote on Proposition 64, the state ballot initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana use for persons 21-years-old and older. With Election Day looming, media coverage of the measure has picked up. Most of the state's major newspapers weighed in on legalization a couple weeks ago; and, last week, the local Sacramento CBS station ran a five part series discussing the perceived risks and benefits of legalizing recreational marijuana use in California--coverage that ranged from the lessons to be learned from legalization in Colorado to the effect legalization might have on the image of the state.
- Prop 64: As Recreational Pot Legalization Vote Looms, What Can California Learn From Colorado?
- Prop 64: Would Recreational Pot Legalization Really Ease Pressure on Police?
- Prop 64: How Much Money Could Legal Weed Bring In--And Where Would It Go?
- Prop 64: As THC Levels Hit New Highs, Health Effects Of Marijuana Still A Big Unknown
- Prop 64: Would Weed Legalization Hurt California's Image?
Two other useful resources for commentary on Proposition 64 are The San Francisco Chronicle's blog Smell the Truth and The Sacramento Bee's regular coverage here. The Los Angeles Times's Robin Abcarian also regularly reports on the subject.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Exploring how to impact the hearts and minds of bellwether Buckeye voters concerning marijuana reform
Perhaps fittingly, the final student presentation planned for my Ohio State College of Law marijuana reform seminar is focused on "efforts to change the hearts and minds of Ohio voters when it comes to marijuana reform." Here is how the students have described their project and the materials they have assembled to this end:
Our project is focused on connecting with the average Ohioan who does not and has not used marijuana, in order to dispel any myths or prejudices that he or she might hold. The goal is to inform the populace about the virtues of marijuana reform before they vote on another bill/initiative so that they are primed to vote yes on the merits. The articles include what the polls say about Ohio's desire for legal marijuana, a Vice video about moms returning to marijuana consumption after years rebuking it, and some materials concerning compelling organizational tactics for reformers including strategies used for legalization initiatives:
Summer 2014 Prospectus by The Strategy Network describing ResponsibleOhio's plans for "2015 Ohio Marijuana Legalization and Regulation"
April 20, 2016 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Initiative reforms in states, Polling data and results, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
I am sad to report that this week marks the final week of my OSU marijuana reform seminar and thus the final set of student presentations. One of these presentations will be focused on labor and employment law issues, and here are student-assembled materials on this topic:
Monday, April 11, 2016
A student in my semester-long OSU Moritz College of Law seminar on marijuana reform is presenting this week on how the NCAA approaches marijuana issues involving student athlete. The student has authored this preview blurb to go along with links to assembled background reading:
One of the “hotter” topics in college sports today revolves around the personal activities of high profile student-athletes. When allegations surface that a student-athlete has used marijuana, the focus immediately goes to potential consequences. However, these consequences vary among the leagues, conferences, and schools that student-athletes attend. While the NCAA has (somewhat) consistent procedure for dealing with drug violations, the potential consequences aren’t always clear. Additionally, the potential consequences and treatment of marijuana violations are not always consistent across the board.
These material and articles provide background and highlight some main points for discussion:
AP: “Schools Was Athlete Penalties for Marijuana” - Eric Olson, Dec. 2015
The Wall Street Journal: “The NCAA’s Drug Problem” - Sharon Terlep, March 2015
NCAA: "Marijuana and the interocollegiate student-athlete: Implications for Prevention” - Jason Kilmer, Ph.D., University of Washington; Karalyn Holten, University of Washington
Sunday, April 10, 2016
As students in my semester-long OSU Moritz College of Law seminar on marijuana laws and reform continue assembling readings on particular topics in preparation for an in-class presentation/discussion, this week we have a student taking a deep dive into marijuana propaganda past and present. Here is his summary of the issue and links to background reading:
The presentation will examine the ways the States' clean air acts and anti-public use laws are barriers to these type of establishments and the social use of marijuana, as well as what people are doing to get around the laws and legally use marijuana socially. We will consider what laws have been enacted in response to people trying to circumvent the pre-existing laws and how other states considering legalizing recreational marijuana are approaching the issue of public use and marijuana lounges.
The question in the title of this post is posed by a trio of my students in my OSU Moritz College of Law seminar on marijuana laws and reform as a preview to their coming in-class presentation/discussion. These students have authored this preview blurb to go along with the following links to assembled background reading:
As more states become increasingly friendly to marijuana, investors of every size are looking into the industry. But, given the current market and the legal uncertainties, is investing in the marijuana industry a prudent choice?
"The historical consequences of Irrational Exuberence: Market Crashes: The Tulip and Bulb Craze"
"The Legal Marijuana Industry: The rise of cannabis capitalism: Silicon Valley Meets Bob Marley"
"The business of marijuana R&D: U.S. firms target investment in Israeli cannabis R&D"
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
The question in the title of this post is posed by a student in my semester-long OSU Moritz College of Law seminar on marijuana laws and reform as a preview to his in-class presentation/discussion on Fouth Amendment doctrines. The student has authored this preview blurb to go along with links to assembled background reading:
Warrantless searches are per se unreasonable subject only to a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions. Over the last several decades, many of these exceptions to the protections of the Fourth Amendment have either revolved around or are tied to the presence of marijuana. The “Plain Smell” or marijuana from an officer is firmly supported among circuit courts as sufficient for granting probable cause for a search. The Supreme Court has upheld the use of drug detection dogs during traffic stops to generate probable cause to search a vehicle. When there is marijuana in a location where marijuana is illegal, police officers have a justification for a warrantless search.
With the current legalization of marijuana in many jurisdictions, these established exceptions and practices are being turned on their heads. However, the movements away from these established practices are inconsistent and uncoordinated. When dealing with drug detection dogs, some agencies are retiring established dogs and training new ones while some agencies are attempting to retrain their established dogs. But the proper course of action is legally and procedurally uncertain. To retire and retrain is expensive while it is unknown whether a drug detection dogs will remain effective upon retraining or if they can even be retrained. Is it impossible to teach an old dog new tricks?
Two articles on what is happening to drug dogs in jurisdictions where marijuana has been legalized:
An article which further examines marijuana legalization on drug dogs and wades into the discussion of automobiles searchs on the basis of marijuana:How medical marijuana legalization has affected the probable cause generating effect of marijuana odor in Arizona:
April 6, 2016 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
As students in my semester-long OSU Moritz College of Law seminar on marijuana laws and reform continue assembling readings on particular topics in preparation for an in-class presentation/discussion, this week we have a student taking a deep dive into marijuana propaganda past and present. Here are links to assembled resources and his summaries:
This article provides a good timeline of early Marijuana propaganda and identifies some of the common themes underlying public marijuana education through the 1950s. It also discusses the themes of racism underlying early marijuana advertising.
Identifying the changing themes of government propaganda over the years. Beginning with violent crime, shifting to laziness, health concerns, gateway drugs, and eventually focusing on youth access to marijuana in the modern day. This article showcases the ways that government sponsored marijuana education has changed over the years as public perception of the drug also changes.
A Pew Research study showcasing attitudes towards marijuana based on age. A correlation can be drawn between reasons that a certain age group opposes legalization and the messages presented during their time. The Silent Generation who was coming of age during Reefer Madness opposes legalization because of the perceived violent nature of marijuana, while members of Gen X oppose legalization because of the perceived health risks presented by marijuana. A relation to their exposure to the “Your Brain on Drugs” campaign during the ‘80s.
Finally, a video I edited to try and capture the essential themes and messages presented in both Reefer Madness and Ten Nights in a Bar Room. The two films have been edited down to try and present only the biggest anti-marijuana/alcohol themes in the movies. If fellow classmates would like a brief introduction to what marijuana education looked like in the ‘30s I would hope this properly captures and showcases the political climate at the time.
April 5, 2016 in Assembled readings on specific topics, History of Alcohol Prohibition and Temperance Movements, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)
The question in the title of this post is the query that defines the work of one of my seminar students who will be presenting on this topic to the rest of the class this week. Here is his suggested background readings and materials to set up this important topic:
General Overview Material
Background on "Big Tobacco" Regulation
FDA v Brown and Williamson, 529 U.S. 120 (2000).
First Amendment / Online Marijuana Advertising/ Commercial Speech Doctrine
Brown v Entertainment Merchants Assn., 564 U.S. ___ (2011).
Marijuana Perspective on Video Game Advertising targeted toward Marijuana Users
April 5, 2016 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, March 31, 2016
The question in the title of this post is posed by one of my seminar students who will be presenting on this topic to the rest of the class this afternoon. Here is introduction for his colleagues and others interested in this engaging query:
Many players are pushing towards open marijuana policies because of the potential health benefits of marijuana use. Players argue that they can be taking marijuana instead of other synthetic pain killers to keep them on the field or court. The players arguments generally fall on deaf ears, the league doesn't want to have any of it.
Here’s why; The league is concerned about its image. In the code of every sports league is the phrase, “integrity of the game.” In other words, the league has the responsibility to uphold the integrity of the game. This applies to players conduct both on and off the field.
For conduct on the field, the league is concerned that marijuana use will effect players ability to play the game. The players abilities may become diminished by the use of marijuana which in turn would diminish the competitive integrity of the game. What if marijuana use improved players ability to play the game – would the league ban it similar to steroids or would the league embrace it because it makes the game more exciting? (Marijuana does not have the negative consequences typically associated with steroids, an argument for allowing its use.)
For conduct off the field, the league is concerned about its image. Every league has “body image issues.”
- NFL – Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Josh Gordon
- NBA – Donald Sterling…
- Olympics – Michael Phelps
The list goes on and on. The leagues want to keep a sterling image and the concern is that allowing marijuana use will taint their image. They are unlikely to move until marijuana use is more accepted. Its just good to keep things how they are for business purposes. They don't want to alienate fans.
On the other hand, leagues have incredible ability to shape policy. The leagues may even pave the way for legalization and normalization of marijuana use to treat pain if they would embrace the players requests. The more medical discovery regarding concussions and other ailments and its treatment of marijuana the more likely the leagues will become a factor in this arena.
Maybe even some leagues will fund a study?
Other interesting articles:
- "High Time For Hockey"
March 31, 2016 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Examining the modern intersection of the drug war and deportations (with a special focus on marijuana)
This week's presentation in my marijuana reform seminar is focused on immigration law and the "war on drugs." My student will be presenting, I believe, some original empirical research; as background reading he suggested this 2014 Huffington Post piece headlined "The Drug War = Mass Deportation: 250,000 Deported for Drug Offenses in Last 6 Years." Here is how this piece gets started (with links from the original):
The drug war has increasingly become a war against migrant communities. It fuels racial profiling, border militarization, violence against immigrants, intrusive government surveillance and, especially, widespread detentions and deportations.
Media and politicians have tried to convince us that everyone who gets deported is a violent criminal, a terrorist or a drug kingpin. But a newly released, first-of-its-kind report shatters that notion, showing instead that the majority (some two-thirds) of those deported last year were guilty of minor, nonviolent offenses — including thousands deported for nothing more than possessing small quantities of drugs, typically marijuana.
The report, an analysis of federal immigration data conducted by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, details how roughly 40,000 people have been deported for drug law violations every year since 2008. That means that nearly 250,000 — one-quarter of a million — people were deported for nonviolent drug offenses in just the past six years. A nonviolent drug offense was the cause of deportation for more than one in ten (11 percent of) people deported in 2013 for any reason — and nearly one in five (19 percent) of those who were deported because of a criminal conviction.
Much as the drug war drives mass incarceration, it also appears to be a major driver of mass deportation. Indeed, the report reveals that simple marijuana possession was the fourth most common cause of deportation for any crime, and the most common cause of deportation for crimes involving drugs. On average, more than 6,600 people were deported in each of the last two years just for personal marijuana possession, and overall, nearly 20,000 people were deported last year for simple possession of any drug or drug paraphernalia.
By contrast, relatively few of those deported were drug traffickers, let alone violent ones. “Convictions for drug trafficking accounted for only one percent of deportees recorded as convicted of a crime,” the report’s authors note, “while marijuana possession was more than three times that level.”
March 30, 2016 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (1)
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Ballot Initiative 71: The referendum that overwhelmingly passed after a vote by D.C. residents on On November 14, 2014, making it legal to posses up to two ounces of marijuana for medical use, to grow up to six cannabis plants, and to sell paraphernalia for drug use, but not to transfer marijuana for money.
DC's Marijuana Law: Explained: A brief video by the Washington Post that explains what "you need to know to smoke pot in DC" released after BI-71 became effective.
DC Council Warned Not to Regulate Marijuana: Detailing a letter from the District's AG to the DC Council warning that holding a hearing on regulating marijuana would be in violation of Congress' mandate that the Council not use any of its budget to regulate marijuana--an example of the tense cannabis standoff between Congress and D.C.'s self-governing body.
Weed is Legal in DC, so Why is No One Acting Like It?: New York Magazine article detailing the complex realities of marijuana laws in Washington, D.C. and their on-the-ground impact.
Marijuana Arrests Down 85% After One Year: According to data from the Metropolitan Police Department, "[o]verall, marijuana arrests [in D.C.] decreased by 85% from 2014 to 2015. Marijuana possession arrests fell from 1,840 in 2014 to just 32 in 2015."
Kush Gods Pleads Guilty: One of the first entrepreneurs to openly sell marijuana in the BI-71 created "gray market" pleads guilty on March 21, 2016 to two counts of selling marijuana to an undercover police officer.
March 22, 2016 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Initiative reforms in states, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (1)
After a week off for Spring Break, the students in my semester-long OSU Moritz College of Law seminar on marijuana laws and reform are back to assembling readings on particular topics in preparation for an in-class presentation/discussion. One of the presentations scheduled for this week is to focus on bankrupcy laws and their general unavailability to marijuana businesses, and here are readings that my student has assembled on this front:
Sunday, March 20, 2016
As regular readers of my Sentencing Law and Policy blog should know, careful and responsible researchers and advocates should be careful and cautious about making any bold assertion about which kinds of laws and legal reforms may or may not impact crime rates. Just about every pundit who ever asserts boldly that this reform or that reform certainly will (or certainly won't) reduce or increase crime is proven wrong at some point in some way. For that reason, I am generally disinclined to put too much stock in any assertions that marijuana reform definitely will or definitely won't lead to a change in serious crime rates in a jurisdiction.
That all said, I think it is very important to keep an eye on any notable corrections between reported crime rates is jurisdictions that have reformed its marijuana laws. And, I just came across a few recent postings by Sierra Rayne at the American Thinker website that present data showing significant crime spikes in key marijuana reform jurisdictions. Going through the author's posting archive, I found this array of posts that ought to be of interest to everyone following the impact of marijuana reforms:
As these post headlines perhaps reveal, the author of all these pieces seems quite interested in making the case that there is a causal link between marijuana reform and increases in crime. But even if these posts involve an effort to spin crime data to serve a particular agenda, the data assembled in these posts are disconcerting (and perhaps help explain why we are not hearing from marijuana reform advocates the claim that reform contributes to a decrease in crime).
Critically, lots of crime rates were up in lots of urban and suburban US regions throughout the end of 2014 and through all of 2015; spikes in crime rates in marijuana reform cities might ultimately reflect some broader national trends that have no direct link to marijuana laws and related practicalities. In addition, especially because marijuana reformers reasonably assert that legalization enables law enforcement to refocus energies on more serious crimes, I wonder if any crime spikes in reform cities might reflect, at least in part, the ability for cops on the beat to discover a greater percentage of serious crimes that we already happening but were going unreported before marijuana reform.
I am hopeful (though not all that optimistic) that over time we will see more and more careful analyses of patterns of crime in the wake of local, state and national marijuana reforms. In the meantime, though, I want to complement Sierra Rayne for keeping an eye on this important issue, and I robustly encourage everyone else interested in marijuana reform to look closely at all the emerging data in this space.
March 20, 2016 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
As I mentioned in this prior post, the students in my semester-long OSU Moritz College of Law seminar on marijuana laws and reform are now assembling readings on particular topics in preparation for an in-class presentation/discussion. The last of three presentations scheduled for this week is going to focus on marijuana as a treatment for mental disorders, and here are the readings (with brief summaries) that my student has assembled on this front:
This article discusses many popular strains of Cannabis and explains how these strains stabilize the mood of the smoker. According to this article, not all Cannabis is created equal. Certain strains can be smoked to treat different elements of certain mood disorders.
Cannabis is used to treat PTSD. It is also used to treat Depression. Research on rats found that stress reduces the production of endocannabinoids, which affect cognition, emotion, and behavior. Since Cannabis contains cannabinoids, it replenishes the stressed smoker’s depleting endocannabinoids. This helps treat the smoker’s mood disorders.
This article states that most Cannabis users, use Cannabis as a way of self-medicating.
This article states the same conclusion as the other three articles. It also discusses Israel’s decision to provide its soldiers with marijuana to help combat PTSD and Depression.
This article discusses depression, symptoms of depression, and how it affects cognition. It then discusses how cannabis decreases these symptoms by altering brain chemistry.
This article looks at the Pros and Cons of smoking marijuana.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
As long time readers know, a central part of my semester-long OSU Moritz College of Law seminar on marijuana laws and reform is the requirement that students assemble readings on a particular topic for their fellow classmates followed by an in-class presentation/discussion. The first such student effort this semester, as this post title suggests, provides a gendered perspective on marijuana reform, and here are the pre-class materials sent my way by the students focused on this topic:
Women in the Marijuana Industry:
Women As Voters and Advocates for Marijuana Reform:
Skype Speaker Bios:
Saturday, July 11, 2015
I recently had the pleasure of speaking at length to a terrific reporter covering marijuana reform issues for International Business Times, and I told the reporter that I was quite impressed with the extent and sophistication of IBT's on-going coverage of these issues. Thereafter, it dawned on me that I have not consistently highlighted these realities on this blog space. But here is just an abridged review of some of the great IBT pieces from various reporters in just the last few weeks:
Thursday, June 25, 2015
As regular readers surely realize, I tend generally to favor modern marijuana reform efforts. Consequently, I tend generally to notice and feel most inspired to blog about research and press reports that tend generally to favor modern marijuana reform efforts. But I fully recognize, and generally have respect for, the many policy-makers and advocates who strongly oppose modern marijuana reform efforts.
Especially because I think it is critical in this space and elsewhere that competing voices are heard and dynamic perspectives considered in modern marijuana reform debates, I am ever grateful for the efforts of Kevin Sabet and his group SAM: Smart Approaches to Marijuana for covering and promoting reform-opposition research and developments. And, and these recent posts from the SAM blog highlight, SAM has has a lot to say on these topics over just the last 10 days:
- SAM President Kevin Sabet gives testimony before United States Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control
June 25, 2015 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Political perspective on reforms, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (2)
Thursday, April 23, 2015
As highlighted in many prior posts, students in my marijuana law school seminar are in the midst of assembling readings and leading discussions concerning the research topic(s) that are the focal point for class project(s). This week a student is scheduled to discuss marijuana regulation in the sports industry, and here are some stories she has suggested reviewing on the topic:
Thursday, April 16, 2015
As highlighted in many prior posts, students in my marijuana law school seminar are in the midst of assembling readings and leading discussions concerning the research topic(s) that are the focal point for class project(s). This week, in addition to discussions of law enforcement, tax and black market issues, a student is scheduled to discuss international marijuana reform. Here are links to the student-assembled readings on this topic:
CATO working paper, "Marijuana Policy in Colorado"
Article from The Huffington Post, "There's A Lot More To Uruguay's Legal Weed Than The $1-A-Gram Price"
CATO commentary, "International Analysis: Uruguay and Marijuana Legalization"
CNN commentary, "Finally, a nation legalizes pot"