Wednesday, December 1, 2021
"Forty Greenhouses and a Dispenser’s License: Affirmative Action and Racial Equity in Marijuana Licensing"
The title of this post is the title of this paper recently posted to SSRN and authored by Eleni Christofides, a recent graduate of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. (This paper is yet another in the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.) Here is this latest paper's abstract:
Federal and state attempts at creating racially equitable marijuana industries can go much farther to treat the harms of the War on Drugs. If legislatures, or creators of ballot initiatives, seek “race-neutral” policies, they should boost the ability of people with criminal system involvement to have a place in the industry, and to make good on the often-unrealized promise of expungement. However, the most effective strategy is to confront the racist impact of the War on Drugs head-on, and acknowledge the significance of race in creating a legal industry. If laws fail to do so, then as more states pass medical programs or even medical and recreational-combined programs, their data collection shows and will show a lack of diversity in the industry. The silver lining is that the trend may allow future affirmative action schemes to have the evidence to defeat a strict scrutiny challenge. Though frustrating, waiting on legalization that builds more socially and racially equitable systems for the industry is worthwhile. Returning to an industry that has already taken off, primarily with white-owned-and-controlled companies, and trying to infuse racial and social equity, is not a promising strategy to accomplish real and meaningful change.