Thursday, June 10, 2021
"Data, Damn Lies, and Cannabis Policy: Reefer Madness and the Methodological Crimes of the New Prohibitionists"
The title of this post is the title of this article published earlier this year in the journal Critical Criminology and authored by Jon Heidt and Johannes Wheeldon. Here is its abstract:
The rapid pace of cannabis legalization in North America has provoked a backlash that is predictable and discouraging. The New Prohibitionists, distinct but related to their predecessors, the Old Prohibitionsists, have offered scholarship rife with conceptual errors, methodological flaws, and practical oversights. While their advice would likely hasten that which they seek to decrease, they overlook the costs of returning to practices associated with prohibition. To counter simplistic research interpretations and ill-considered policy, we present a critically informed research program on cannabis and crime based on previous scholarship. Our work is designed to apply replacement discourse and refocus research to withstand the tendency for justice systems to subvert, rather than embrace, reform. Cannabis legalization has been decades in the making and serious questions remain for proponents, opponents, and policymakers. Society, however, will be far worse off if the mistakes of reefer madness are repeated.