Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

"Half-Baked: The Science and Politics of Legal Pot"

The title of this post is the title of this new article authored by Joelle Anne Moreno and now available via SSRN. Here is its abstract:

Weed, herb, grass, bud, ganja, Mary Jane, hash oil, sinsemilla, budder, and shatter.  Marijuana – whether viewed as a medicine or intoxicant – is fast becoming a part of everyday life, with the CDC reporting 7,000 new users every day and the American market projected to grow to $20 billion by 2020.  Based on early campaign rhetoric, by that same year the U.S. could have a pro-marijuana president.

Despite its growing acceptance and popularity, marijuana remains illegal under federal law.  Like heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, marijuana is a DEA Schedule I drug reflecting a Congressional determination that marijuana is both overly addictive and medically useless.

So what is the truth about pot?  The current massive pro-marijuana momentum and increased use, obscures the fact that we still know almost nothing about marijuana’s treatment and palliative potential.  Marijuana’s main psychoactive chemical is THC; but it also contains over 500 other chemicals with unknown physiological and psychological effects that vary based on dosage and consumption method.  Medical marijuana may be legal in 32 states and supported by 84% of Americans, but federal constraints shield marijuana from basic scientific inquiry.  This means that lawmakers and voters are enthusiastically supporting greater access to a drug without demanding critical scientific data.  For policymaking purposes, this data should include marijuana’s short and long-term brain effects, possible lung and cardiac implications, chemical interactions with alcohol and other drugs, addiction risks, pregnancy and breast-feeding concerns, and the effects of secondhand smoke.

This Article treats marijuana as a significant contemporary science and law problem.  It focuses on the fundamental question of regulating a substance that has not been adequately researched.  The Article examines the extant scientific data, deficiencies, and inconsistencies and explains why legislators should not rely on copycat laws governing alcohol or prescription narcotics.  It also explores how marijuana’s hybrid federal (illegality)/state (legality) raises compelling theoretical and practical Constitutional questions of preemption, the anti-commandeering rule, and congressional spending power.  Marijuana legalization has, thus far, been treated as a niche academic concern.  This approach is short-sighted and narrowminded.  Marijuana regulation implicates the reach of national drug policy, the depth of state sovereignty, and the shared obligation to ensure the health and safety of our citizenry.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/marijuana_law/2019/05/half-baked-the-science-and-politics-of-legal-pot.html

Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Political perspective on reforms, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Who decides | Permalink

Comments

So, you're going to ignore the fact that marijuana has been used with relative safety for 1000's of years, right??

Willie Nelson is almost 90 years old, life long pot smoker.

Me?? I am 50, life long pot smoker, retired at 43, to become a professional woodworker and blacksmith. Not to mention am a locally ranked enduro motorcycle and ATV competitor. Still have all my fingers and toes, and would work you into the dirt any day of the week and 3 times on Sunday. There is nothing I detest more, than a panty waist like yourself, whining about the dangers of a substance that NO ONE has EVER died from, Overdosed, or has suffered ill health effects because of. NOT ONE.

I only wished abject imbeciles like yourself who seem educated enough to have a little bit of common sense would put this much importance and effort on the opioid and meth problem that this country is facing that IS actually KILLING PEOPLE.

Posted by: AlienWired | May 23, 2019 5:57:09 AM

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