Saturday, April 22, 2023

The First State becomes the 22nd state to fully legalize marijuana

Download (1)As reported in this local article, "Gov. John Carney on Friday said he would let the bills to legalize marijuana and create a recreational industry become law without his signature, standing down from his aversions to recreational weed that put him at odds with his party." Here is more:

Delaware is the 22nd state to legalize recreational marijuana, after a nearly decadeslong fight by advocates and Democrats to enact these policies.  Carney, in a statement, said he still believes legalizing weed is “not a step forward.”

“I want to be clear that my views on this issue have not changed,” the governor said in a statement.  “And I understand there are those who share my views who will be disappointed in my decision not to veto this legislation.  I came to this decision because I believe we’ve spent far too much time focused on this issue, when Delawareans face more serious and pressing concerns every day.  It’s time to move on.”

Carney said he could not sign these bills due to his concerns about the health consequences recreational marijuana will have on children, as well as roadway safety.  Along with House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, the governor is the rare Democrat to not support weed legalization....

Marijuana, in the quantity of personal use, becomes legal starting Sunday. Delawareans will not be able to purchase recreational weed in the First State for at least 16 months.  It will still be illegal to consume marijuana in public, and employers are still allowed to have a zero-tolerance policy.  Like it has in neighboring states, a Delaware recreational marijuana industry could bring in tens of millions in tax revenue.

The General Assembly in March passed two marijuana-related bills: House Bill 1 legalizes the "personal use quantity" of marijuana, which varies by cannabis form, for people ages 21 and older.  This is defined as 1 ounce or less of leaf marijuana, 12 grams or less of concentrated cannabis, or cannabis products containing 750 milligrams or less of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

The second bill, House Bill 2, creates and regulates the recreational marijuana industry in Delaware.  Within 16 months of the legislation going into effect, the state will distribute 30 retail licenses through a competitive bidding process.  There would be a marijuana control enforcement fee of 15% and 7% of the marijuana tax revenue into a Justice Reinvestment Fund.  This money, lawmakers say, will create grants and services that focus on restorative justice and reducing the state’s prison population....

The governor was sent the bills last week, starting a 10-day clock for him to make a decision on the future of the bills. He had three options: sign, veto or do nothing, which would allow it to become law.  The governor vetoed a similar legalization bill, resulting in a rare and historic moment for lawmakers: They attempted to override.  A successful veto override hasn’t been done since 1977.  And it’s rarely attempted.

The Delaware General Assembly has been hesitant to take on the governor, especially when he is a member of their own party.  So, despite the attempt last year, many lawmakers who supported the bill acquiesced. Yet this year appeared to be different.  The bills sponsor Rep Ed. Osienski, a Newark Democrat, said last week that he had the votes for successful overrides on both bills.

April 22, 2023 in History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

SAM provides its latest accounting of "Lessons Learned from State Marijuana Legalization"

Download (2)The leading national group opposed to modern marijuana reforms, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), celebrated the 4/20 holiday by releasing this 71-page report titled "Impact Report 2023-2024: Lessons Learned from State Marijuana Legalization."  The report starts with this background:

Contrary to federal law, under which the possession and sale of marijuana are illegal (Controlled Substances Act, 1971), several states have legalized the cultivation, commercial sale, and use of marijuana, beginning in 2012.  Despite this, dozens of states continue to reject the legalization of marijuana.  The vast majority of localities in “legal” states also ban the production and retail sale of marijuana.  Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, although pro-marijuana lobbyists are actively working to undue this.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) compiled publicly available federal and state-level data, reports, investigatory findings, peer-reviewed studies, and government health surveys to assemble this report.  We have attempted to be as transparent as possible in our evaluation so as to allow readers to trace our steps and further their own research.

The SAM report thereafter mines an extraordinary amount of data seeking to detail myriad harms from modern marijuana reforms.  However, as I have noticed in this past, some of SAM's numbers look a bit hinky.  For example, a graphic on page 10 claims that annual marijuana taxes comprised only 0.09% of Colorado's state budget.  But this Urban Institute report indicates that Colorado is raising 1.7% of its revenue through marijuana taxes for the same year in the SAM report. (And this report from my own Drug Enforcement and Policy Center had a previous year's tax data from Colorado sources reporting marijuana taxes amounting to 2.08% of total tax revenue.)  Similarly, but less serious, on page 6, a graphic claims certain data shows a 1,375% increase, when the data actually show only an increase 1/3 that large.

Though one-sided in the mining of data, this SAM report serves as an impressive collection and presentation of information painting marijuana reform in a poor light.  And the report concludes with this recommendation:

Policy makers and the public need real-time data on both the consequences of legalization and related monetary costs.  Meanwhile, we should pause future legalization efforts and implement public health measures such as potency caps in places that have legalized.  In addition, the industry’s influence on policy should be significantly curtailed. SAM recommends research efforts and data collection focus on the following categories:

1. Emergency room and hospital admissions related to marijuana.

2. Marijuana potency and price trends in the “legal” and illegal markets.

3. School incidents related to marijuana, including studies involving representative datasets.

4. Extent of marijuana advertising toward youth and its impact.

5. Marijuana-related car crashes, including THC levels even when testing positive for alcohol.

6. Mental health effects of marijuana.

7. Admissions to treatment and counseling intervention programs.

8. Cost of implementing legalization from law enforcement to regulators.

9. Cost of mental health and addiction treatment related to increased marijuana use.

10. Cost of needing, but not receiving, treatment.

11. Effect on the market for alcohol and other drugs.

12. Cost to workplace and employers, including impact on employee productivity.

13. Effect on minority communities, including arrests, placement of marijuana establishments, and quality of life indicators.

14. Effect on the environment, including water and power usage.

April 22, 2023 in Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Student presentation explores foreign nationals' participation in the US marijuana industry

DownloadThe final scheduled presentation during the final week of my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform class is focused on a topic that does not seem to get all that much attention even though it is at the intersection of two topics that get a whole lot of attention. Specifically, this presentation is examining how non-citizens in the US interact with the marijuana industry. Here is how the topic is described by my student (along with background readings):

Foreign nationals and immigrants to the United States participate in the U.S. marijuana industry in many of the same ways as U.S. citizens.  Some consume marijuana for medical or recreational reasons, others work for marijuana dispensaries or farms, and others invest in the booming industry.  However, unlike U.S. citizens, noncitizens may face serious consequences for engaging in the marijuana industry, regardless of individual state legalization of the drug.

The federal Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for strict consequences for foreign nationals who participate in the marijuana industry, such as inadmissibility, deportability, and bars to naturalization.  And these consequences are unlikely to change with marijuana’s continuing status as a Schedule I controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Background readings:


From the Congressional Research Service, "Marijuana and Restrictions on Immigration"  (2020)

From Christopher P Salas-Wright et al., "Trends in cannabis use among immigrants in the United States, 2002-2017: Evidence from two national surveys" (2019)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Policy Alert: Controlled Substance-Related Activity and Good Moral Character Determinations" (2019)

From ABC News, "Legal immigrants with jobs in the marijuana industry are being denied US citizenship" (2019)

From Politico, "‘Real People That We Care About Are Being Exploited’: Lured with false promises of high pay and decent labor conditions, immigrants are held against their will by outlaw farmers who withhold their wages." (2022)

From Harris Bricken, "Foreign Investment in U.S. Cannabis: A Continuing Love/Hate Relationship" (2020)

April 18, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, International Marijuana Laws and Policies | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 17, 2023

Student presentation examines autism as a potential qualifying considition for medical marijuana in Ohio

Download (1)Among the many virtures of a class on marijuana law and policy, and one reason I have students do presentation on topics of their choice, is the opporutnity to look at some issue with a broad landscape approach and then at related issues with a more refined focus.  During what I can hardly believe is the final week of my class, the first student presentation will be exploring medical marijuana programs around the nation.  Then, in what is scheduled to be the fourth presentation, a different student will look specificaly at autism as a potential qualifying considition for medical marijuana in the Buckeye State.  Here is how the topic is described by my student (along with background readings):

Medical Marijuana has been legalized in Ohio since 2016, however, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) remains off of the list of qualifying conditions.  ASD is a neurodevelopmental disability which effects three major domains: social interaction, communication, and behavior patterns.  As of January 2022, ASD affected 1 in 44 children.  House Bill 60 and House Bill 261 aim to expand what conditions qualify for the use of medical marijuana and, specifically, look to add ASD as one of those qualifying conditions. 

Currently, 23 states list autism as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use — Ohio is hopeful to be the 24th state. While there are many barriers to the recommendation of medical marijuana for autism, much of the evidence today is anecdotal.  Other countries such as Turkey analyzed the relationship between medical marijuana and Autism — the study was described to be a miracle for those with Autism.

Background materials:

Ohio House Bill 60

Ohio Senate Bill 261

Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider et al., "Real life Experience of Medical Cannabis Treatment in Autism: Analysis of Safety and Efficacy" (2019)

Autisim Science Foundation, "Use of Medical Marijuana"

Peter Hess, "Cannabis and autism, explained"

Serap Bilge & Barış Ekici, "CBD-enriched cannabis for autism spectrum disorder: an experience of a single center in Turkey and reviews of the literature" (2021)

April 17, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Medical Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Student presentation exploring the history and regulation of edibles

Images (1)The third student presentation scheduled for my class this week covers yet another important marijuana topic with lots of history, public health issues, and policy concerns all wrapped into package with seemingly significant market appeal.  And this description and list of readings from my student is sure to whet appetites for coverage of this signifcant topic:

Edibles, food or drink containing cannabis, have exploded in popularity over the past few decades.  Despite their recent boom, they are not a new developement.  Edibles have a long and interesting history, with evidence that cannabis has been used in food products for thousands of years.  In the modern context, their use is quite common, making edibles the third-largest sector of the cannabis market (after the flower itself and concentrates/cartridges). 

Edibles offer several benefits over other methods of cannabis use, but there are also downsides.  The amount of THC in a package of edibles is almost always higher than the recommended dose.  Additionally, many edibles look and taste like candy or other sweets, leading to increases in child and pet ingestion.  There are also many trademark concerns, since many edibles are named and packaged in ways resembling trademarked designs. Despite these issues, there is relatively little regulation of edibles in states that have legalized recreational cannabis.  This area is ripe for future legislative action, extending from packaging and labeling requirements to manufacturing and THC content restrictions.  There will likely be significant changes to how cannabis law regulates edibles in the future as legislatures move to mitigate certain issues specific to edibles.

Background Reading:

Christine Chung, "Consumption of Marijuana Edibles Surges Among Children, Study Finds"

Press release, "Sour Patch Kids Files Trademark Lawsuit Against THC-Infused 'Stoney Patch' Brand

Tom Schuba, "‘Medicated Skittles’? Candy giant sues weed sellers for trademark infringement

American Addiction Centers, "Marijuana Edibles: Risks, Side Effects & Dangers"

Bobby Hristova, "DAY 40: The ancient history of cannabis edibles"

Kelly Johnson-Arbor, "My Child Ate a Cannabis Edible"

April 17, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Student presentation exploring how Republicans might tackle marijuana reform from a conservative direction

Republicans-marijuanaI always find the poltics of marijuana reform to be interesting and even more dynamic than is often recognized. Consequently, I am excited that the second presentation slated for this week is focused on in this arena. The topic is described by my student this way (along with background readings):

It is no secret that marijuana reform efforts — both medicinally and recreationally — tend to start in blue states with red states lagging behind.  Every blue state and almost every purple state has established some sort of medical marijuana program, while around half of red states still have not addressed medical marijuana . Almost every blue state has legalized recreational marijuana, while most red states have not done so.  And importantly, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level with Republican members of Congress being the most resistant to a change in policy.

So, are Republicans bound to oppose marijuana reform efforts with no argument in favor?  Not necessarily! Several Republican priorities overlap with the priorities of those in the marijuana reform crowd.  For example, Republicans tend to oppose an increase in federal power, while marijuana reform advocates support a reduction in federal power over marijuana.  Similarly, Republicans support gun rights, while marijuana reform advocates support allowing marijuana users to exercise their Second Amendment rights.  Given these overlaps in policy, Republicans have an opportunity to tackle the marijuana issue from a conservative direction — maybe even winning over some support from the marijuana reform crowd.  And in doing so, Republicans can ensure the legislative process tempers the excesses of many marijuana reform proposals.

Background Readings:

Kyle Jaeger, "Majority Of Kentucky Residents Back Legalizing Marijuana For Any Purpose, Poll Finds As Medical Hearing Approaches," Marijuana Moment (Feb. 2020).

Ted Van Green, "Americans overwhelmingly say marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use," Pew Research Center (Nov. 2022).

Rebecca Rivas, "Marijuana vote divided Missouri social-justice leaders. Can an equity officer be a bridge?," Missouri Independent (Nov. 2022).

Maeve Walsh & Natalie Fahmy, "How marijuana could become legal in Ohio in 2023," NBC4i (Jan. 2023).

United States v Harrison, No. CR-22-00328-PRW (W.D. Okla. Feb. 3, 2023).

Jeffrey Miron, "The Budgetary Effects of Ending Drug Prohibition," CATO Institute (July 2018).

April 16, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Student presentation explores medical marijuana programs across US

Istockphoto-509251255-170667aI can hardly believe we have already reached the final week of student presentations in my Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform class. But, happily, this final week will bring a large number of presentations, and the first one slated for this final week is on medical marijuana programs around the nation. Here is how the topic is described by my student (along with background readings):

The medical marijuana space can be confusing and complex for patients, physicians, attorneys, and lawmakers due to the federal government’s prohibition on marijuana.  Every state has discretion in creating its own medical marijuana program, each one subject to the rules and regulations of state lawmakers.  Although thirty-eight states have legalized marijuana for medical use, it currently remains classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substance Act.  The discrepancy between the use of marijuana for medical purposes and its classification as a Schedule I substance, in conjunction with its federal illegality, affects the medical marijuana industry greatly.  Differing state-level medical marijuana programs create numerous barriers for patients including whether they qualify for a medical card, where they can access their treatment, and the cost and method in which they can use their medicine.  The federal illegality of cannabis also creates the issue of possible criminal prosecution for both patients and doctors in the United States.  Additionally, marijuana’s Schedule I status has created several obstacles for researchers and doctors to further their study on the efficacy and potential benefits of cannabis. 

Each of these problems only scrapes the surface of the difficulties patients and other players in the medical marijuana industry face due to the illegal status of cannabis and the disparities in medical marijuana programs.  Mitigating these differences and creating more uniform state medical marijuana laws will help create an affordable, accessible, and safer medical marijuana program for all patients, but as with every area in the marijuana space, the federal illegality and Schedule I status of marijuana remains a barrier to improving the cannabis industry.

Relevant background:

GreenHealthDocs, "Can I Use My Medical Marijuana in Another State?"

Jennie Ryan et al., "Medicinal Cannabis: Policy, Patients, and Providers"

Leafly, "Cannabis testing regulations: A state-by-state guide"

Americans for Safe Access, "State Medical Cannabis Laws Graded by Patient Advocates in New Report"

April 16, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 10, 2023

Student presentation examines psychedelics reform and of psilocybin as a treatment for PTSD

Picture1One of many themes in my Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform class concerns how marijuana is (or is not) like other substances and how marijuana reform is (or is not) like other legal reforms.  Against that backdrop, it is especially exciting that the second student presentation slated for this week is focused on psychedelics.  Here is how my student describes her topics (along with background readings):

In 1970, President Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) into law.  The CSA lists psilocybin (the compound found in psychedelic mushrooms) as a schedule 1 substance.  That is, according to the CSA, psilocybin is a drug with a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. 

During a press conference in 1971, President Nixon declared drug abuse as “America’s public enemy number one.”  In this famous speech, President Nixon stated that although this so-called enemy had existed prior the war in Vietnam, it had been exacerbated by the fact that “a number of young Americans were becoming addicts as they served abroad” — effectively denoting drug abuse among veterans as an area of top concern for his administration. 

Today, veterans of the War on Terror are successfully advocating for the use of psilocybin as a treatment for PTSD.  Due in large part to the advocacy efforts of these veterans, California could become the next success story in the fight to decriminalize psilocybin.  On March 21, 2023, the Senate Public Safety Committee passed Senate Bill 58. The bill will now be sent to the Appropriations Committee.  If signed into law, Senate Bill 58 would decriminalize the possession and use of psilocybin (as well as other plant-based psychedelics) in California. 

Background Links: 

Lucid News, “California Bill to Decriminalize Some Psychedelics Advances Through the Legislature” (April 2023) 

California Legislative Information,“SB-58 Controlled substances: decriminalization of certain hallucinogenic substances” (Introduced December 2022, Amended March 2023) 

The New York Times, The Daily (podcast episode), “The Veterans Fighting to Legalize Psychedelics” (February 2023) 

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Newsroom, “Psychedelic Treatment with Psilocybin Relieves Major Depression, Study Shows” (November 2020) 

April 10, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Student presentation examines medical marijuana in the workplace

MedicalmarijuanaAnother week of student presentations in my Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform class means another week of thoughtful explanation and asessment of a diverse array of interesting legal and polcy issue.  The first student presentation slated for this week is on medical marijuana in the workplace, and the topic is described by my student this way (along with background readings):

The legal landscape surrounding medical marijuana is complicated by the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and yet, the general US workforce continues to see an upward trend in positive drug tests for marijuana. My focus will be on this conflicting legal framework and understanding what courses of action are being brought forth to deal with medical marijuana in the workplace. One of the key challenges for employers is determining how to manage employees who use medical marijuana. Overall, it is still an undefined company and state-based decision-making process that does not have one solution fitting all.

Not only do employers face tough decisions given the current patchwork of laws, but employees do too. They may be hesitant to disclose their use of the drug to their employer, for fear of discrimination or retaliation. To address these challenges, some states have passed laws that provide protections for employees who use medical marijuana or generally provide protections against discrimination. Additionally, some states have implemented regulations that provide guidelines for employers who are dealing with medical marijuana use in the workplace.  Ultimately, it is time for employers to evaluate their policies and procedures, not only in light of the law but practical realities as well.

Background Readings:

From Quest Diagnostics, "Drug Testing Index Interactive Map: Positivity for Marijuana" (2021)

From Americans for Safe Access, "2022 State of the States Report: An Analysis of State Medical Cannabis Access"  (2022)

From U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, "2021 SAMHSA National Survey of Drug Use and Health" (2021)

From the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC), "Medical Marijuana and its impact on BWC " (2018)

April 8, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Student presentation exploring Europe's cannabis reform efforts

ImagesBecause there are so many domestic issues to cover in my seminar, I find that I never have time to talk about all the notable international developments in the marijuana reform space.  Consequently, I am very excited that some of these wroldly topics are to be expored in  the third presentation scheduled for this week in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar.  Specifically, a student will be presenting on European cannabis reform and regulation, and here is how he has described his topic along with background readings:

On the international level, cannabis legalization is surprisingly sparse with less than 5% of countries having full legalization regimes.  The lack of legalization in some regions garners no shock, however, Western Europe appears as an outlier. The traditional ideological front of Western Europe is one of progressive and left-leaning nature, however, cannabis legalization efforts are at least half a decade behind the United States.  Common factors contributing to cannabis movements including use, interest, values, and access all of which appear to align with a pro-cannabis legalization in Europe.  However, as of 2023 only one country has a semi-legalized regime, Malta.  Are their explanations for the lag in cannabis legalization in Europe or is it a legislative anomaly?

Links of Particular Interest:

1. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "European Drug Report 2020: Trends and Developments" (2020) 

2. Hanway Associates, "Recreational Europe" (2022) 

3. Leafwell, "A Guide to Medical Marijuana Legalization Around the World" (2023)

4. United Nations, "Commentary on the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988" (June 1988)

5. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "European Drug Report 2022: Trends and Developments" (2022) 

April 4, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, International Marijuana Laws and Policies | Permalink | Comments (0)

Student presentation exploring past marijuana convictions and sentences amid reform efforts

6a00d83451574769e202af1c979f80200d-320wiI am always excited by the wide range of diverse topics that students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar focus upon for their research and class presentations.  But, because I was brought to this topic through my long-standing interest in criminal justice reform, I get extra excited when a student digs into criminal law stories.  And the second presentation slated for this week is in this space, and the topic is described by my student this way (along with background readings):

Efforts to change marijuana law at both the state and federal level are never-ending.  With so much excitement around the prospect of new laws, the passing of new laws, and the possibility of new business, one group appears to be left behind more often than not: the people who have already been affected by the criminalization of marijuana and are currently serving time in prison.

At the federal level while marijuana is not legal, Biden pardoned roughly 6,500 people convicted of simple possession of marijuana in October of 2022.  This step showed so much promise of change, but what wasn’t accounted for was how simple possession charges can affect the sentences of other people within the federal sentence.  Maybe someone is convicted of heroin possession, but they have two previous marijuana possession charges — their criminal history increases, increasing their sentence.  How do we account for these disparities? One person is pardoned, no longer serving time for marijuana possession while another gets months tacked onto their sentence for that same offense.

At the same time, simple possession marijuana offenders are not the only group facing disparities.  People serving longer sentences in federal prison for trafficking marijuana also face disparities in sentence lengths due to mechanisms like compassionate release.  A system set up to help people — and it does — does not reach every person equally in prison.  Depending on your judge, you may have an order granting your motion for compassionate release because the judge understands the marijuana landscape has changed over the last 20 years.  However, on the other hand, you may receive an order from your judge denying your motion for compassionate release because to them trafficking marijuana is still a crime at the federal level, despite what states are doing.  How do you remedy one person receiving relief because of changes in marijuana law while another person being denied compassionate release because changes in marijuana law does not warrant a sentence change?

Maybe there is no good answer — but one thing is for sure, this group of people, feeling the impacts of antiquated marijuana law, cannot be left behind.

Background reading:

US Sentencing Commission, "Weighing the Impact of Simple Possession of Marijuana" (January 2023) 

From CNBC, "Biden pardons thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession, orders review of federal pot laws" (October 2022)

 Congressional Research Service, "Recent Developments in Marijuana Law" (December 2022)

April 4, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Student presentation examining the history and failures of D.A.R.E.

DAREStudents in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar are continuing with their amazing efforts "taking over" my class through presentations on the research topics of their choice. The first of our presentations for the coming week will be looking at D.A.R.E. Here is how my student has described her topic along with background readings she has provided for her classmates (and the rest of us):

D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) began in the 1980s as a school based program designed to prevent tobacco use, alcohol use, and drug use.  Its beginning is rooted in the War on Drugs and the Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” movement.  The program consists of lectures and simulations conducted by uniformed police officers in classrooms.  D.A.R.E. was extremely prevalent at its height.  As of 2016, 75% of U.S. school districts and 52 countries taught the D.A.R.E. program.  Worldwide over 200 million K-12 children have been taught the D.A.R.E. program.  However, despite D.A.R.E.’s popularity, in the 1990s and early 2000s numerous studies found that D.A.R.E. did not reduce students use of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.  In fact, D.A.R.E. likely had a “boomerang effect”, making students more likely to use tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.  Since 2009 D.A.R.E. has been teaching a revamped program, Keepin’ It Real, but does the Keepin’ It Real program address the issues of the original D.A.R.E. program? Furthermore, in the era of marijuana legalization, how does D.A.R.E. address marijuana? Overall, major changes still need to be made to the D.A.R.E. program for it to remain relevant and useful to K-12 students.


D.A.R.E. website

Press report, "STUDY: D.A.R.E. Teaches Kids About Drugs But Doesn’t Prevent Use" (1994)

Letter from United States General Accounting Office, "Youth Illicit Drug Use Prevention: DARE Long-Term Evaluations and Federal Efforts to Identify Effective Programs" (2003)

Article from Washington Post, "D.A.R.E. Gets Duped by Anti-Pot Satire" (2015)

D.A.R.E., "D.A.R.E.’s Position and Curricula Regarding Marijuana and Legalization" (2018)

Article from Herb, "Has D.A.R.E. Removed Cannabis from 'Gateway' Drugs List?" (2019) 

Commentarty from American Addiction Centers, "Does the New D.A.R.E. Program Work?" (2022)

April 2, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Kentucky becomes 38th state to legalize marijuana

KYUnder the US Constitution, any proposed amendment requires ratification by three-fourths of the states.  That means now approval of 38 of our 50 states are required to amend the Constitution. I thought it worth highlighting this math of constitutional reform in conjunction the news from Kentucky that the Bluegrass state has now become the 38th state to legalize medical marijuana.  This local piece, headlined "Kentucky bill legalizing medical marijuana signed into law," provides these details:

After a decade of failed attempts in the state legislature, a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky received final passage Thursday just hours before the adjournment of the 2023 session. Gov. Andy Beshear signed it into law Friday morning before a bipartisan crowd of legislators and advocates, making Kentucky at least the 38th state to legalize medical cannabis.

The actual implementation of the state program will not go into effect until the beginning of 2025....

Senate Bill 47 passed the House by a bipartisan 66-33 vote shortly after it cleared a House committee, with most Republicans and all but one Democrat voting to legalize and regulate the drug.  The passage was a celebration for those who had pushed for legalization in Frankfort over the past decade, coming very close in recent years.

The House had passed a medical marijuana bill two out of the last three years, only to have it die in the Senate due to lack of sufficient support in the socially conservative Republican caucus.  This year the bill started in the Senate, passing through that chamber for the first time two weeks ago by a significant margin.

In the committee meeting, longtime legalization advocate Eric Crawford — a quadriplegic since a vehicle accident 30 years ago — told legislators how marijuana is the only drug that has effectively treated his severe pain and spasms without side effects, saying he and others with serious medical conditions should not have to live in fear of obtaining and using a drug that works....

Under SB 47, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services would be responsible for the implementation, operation, oversight and regulation of the program and its cultivators, dispensaries and producers.  Patients with at least six medical conditions would be eligible to receive a medical marijuana card in Kentucky's program.  The conditions include: Any type or form of cancer regardless of stage; Chronic, severe, intractable, or debilitating pain; Epilepsy or any other intractable seizure disorder; Multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, or spasticity; Chronic nausea that has proven resistant to other conventional medical treatments; Post-traumatic stress disorder

A patient also could be eligible if diagnosed with a medical condition or disease and the newly established Kentucky Center for Cannabis at the University of Kentucky determines they could be helped by use.  The center would determine through data and research that the patient is "likely to receive medical, therapeutic, or palliative benefits."

Card holders would have to be 18 years old or a caretaker for an eligible child.  Patients receiving medical marijuana at a dispensary would not be able to smoke it, but would be able to consume it through vaporizing or edible and topical products.

In committee, Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, a supporter who was the lead sponsor of medical marijuana bills in sessions past, warned that under the bill, patients who smoked marijuana instead of consuming it by other methods would be breaking the law and subject to losing their medical cannabis cards.  "You will lose your card if you get caught smoking and you will go to jail, as you ought to," Nemes said. "This is not a wink wink, nod nod medical program."...

In a tweet Thursday, Beshear cheered the passage of HB 551, noting that he signed an executive order last year to help some individuals with certified medical conditions avoid prosecution for possessing and using marijuana — partly out of frustration with the legislature and as an incentive for them to pass it into law....  In the signing ceremony in the Capitol rotunda Friday morning, Beshear and Republican legislators spoke about the historic nature of the moment and praised each other for pushing it into law — celebrating the fact that thousands who are in pain and suffering will be helped.

April 1, 2023 in History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Medical Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (1)