Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Monday, June 20, 2022

"United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins: Civil Asset Forfeiture and Implications for the Cannabis Industry"

I am pleased to report that, with this posting, I am now fully caught up on posting a lot of recently produced papers that are part of the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.  As I have said in lots of prior posts, it has been a joy to highlight great work by OSU law students and recent graduates, and the title of this post is the title of this paper authored by Alyssa Roberts who recently graduated from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.  Here is its abstract: 

Civil asset forfeiture, a longtime practice in U.S. law enforcement, allows the government to seize any individual property allegedly connected with a crime.  In its modern form, the stated aim has been to take down drug kingpins by forfeiting assets connected to large-scale drug rings.  However, especially in the context of cannabis, the result has been the forfeiture of billions of dollars -- much of which is never ultimately linked to criminal charges—in small increments from individual people.  Of particular concern is the starkly disproportionate effect of civil forfeiture on people of color -- most notably in Black and Latino communities.  Further, the legal landscape allows the majority of seized assets, often cash, to flow directly to police departments across the country, creating a perverse incentive for law enforcement to utilize the practice as often as possible.

This paper provides an overview of the machinations of civil forfeiture laws in the United States, as well as historical context for civil forfeiture over the past several decades.  It then discusses the interaction between cannabis and civil forfeiture, paying particular attention to industry concerns, and provides several recommendations and policy reforms.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/marijuana_law/2022/06/united-states-v-approximately-64695-pounds-of-shark-fins-civil-asset-forfeiture-and-implications-for.html

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