Sunday, March 31, 2024

Student presentation examines marijuana's history in sports and in the sports industry

Sports-Marijuana-1024x668Highligthing the diversity of issues covered when students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar "take over" the second half of the class through their presentations, the third presentation scheduled for the coming week will look at sports.  Specifically, this student will explore "history of marijuana in sports, both domestically and internationally, as well as the impact of marijuana legalization in the sports industry," and here is how he describes his topic along with background readings:

The sports industry has frequently found itself in and around the conversations regarding marijuana use and regulation.  Particularly in the US, many prominent athletes over the years have been vocal advocates for the legalization of cannabis both medically and recreationally.  Not only have athletes made the news for their advocacy of cannabis legalization, but on multiple occasions, athletes have received negative publicity for their use of cannabis.  My paper and presentation, will discuss the history of marijuana in sports, both domestically and internationally, as well as the impact of marijuana legalization in the sports industry. 

The most important organization when it comes to marijuana use in sports is the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA).  WADA was created in 1999 and subsequently established the world anti-doping code in 2003.  As the name of the organization and code indicate, WADA was generally focused on those drugs that have performance enhancing effects, but also banned those substances that go against the “spirit of sport.”  Since the inception of the Code in 2003, the topic of cannabis as a banned substance has come under fire on multiple occasions.  In 2021, the inclusion of cannabis on the list drew wide-spread media attention and led WADA to conduct an extensive review of the substance.  Despite this, WADA maintained their position of having cannabis banned.

While WADA is a prominent voice in the sports world, and its code has been adopted by more than 660 organizations, is not applicable across all sports and leagues.  In particular, the leagues we are most accustomed to in the US (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA) do not abide by the WADA code.  Instead these organizations apply their own rules.  As such, they have been more open to adapting with the times and changing their restrictions on marijuana use. 

Background Reading:

WADA, Who We Are 

WADA, The Prohibited List

WADA, Summary of Major Modifications and Explanatory Notes for 2023 Prohibited List

Marijuana Moment, NCAA Panel Formally Recommends Removing Marijuana From Banned Substances List For College Athletes (Sept. 22, 2023)

Axios, Where it stands: Weed policies by U.S. sports league (Oct 20, 2021).

March 31, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Student presentation examines psychedelics as the next fronteir of drug policy reform

Images (4)It's opening day for the MLB, but we are mid-season for my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar as students continue their "take over" of my class through presentations on the research topics of their choice.  As noted many tmes before, prior to their presentations, students are expected to provide here some background on their topic and links to some readings or relevant materials. The second of our presentations taking place in class next week will be looking at psychedelics and the next class of drugs subject to modern reforms.  Here is how my student has described her topic along with background readings she has provided:

As marijuana policy continues to reform and the stigma surrounding it begins to fade, the legality of other drugs has come into question, and the policies behind them have slowly begun to reform as well.  After California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, within the next four years several states followed suit.  The trend of cannabis legalization continued with Colorado becoming the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in 2014.  This trend of cannabis reform in the last 30 years or so has led researchers, policymakers and everyday citizens to dive into the research of various other drugs that have potential medicinal and recreational use.

The largest group of drugs that has drawn a focus is psychedelics. Psychedelic drugs are a broad category that could encompass anything from cannabis itself to LSD to MDMA.  This presentation will focus on the most common drugs people often think of when it comes to psychedelics – psilocybin (magic mushrooms,) and LSD. As well as two other drugs that have found their way into the spotlight of reform – MDMA (ecstasy,) and ketamine.  My presentation will start with an overview of the drugs above, their medicinal or lack of medicinal purposes, the research surrounding them, and different models of legalization, focusing on the challenges and progress ongoing in various states and cities including Oregon, Colorado and California.

Background reading:

Siegel JS, Daily JE, Perry DA, Nicol GE. Psychedelic Drug Legislative Reform and Legalization in the US, JAMA Psychiatry (Jan. 1, 2023)

Smith WR, Appelbaum PS. Two Models of Legalization of Psychedelic Substances: Reasons for Concern. JAMA (Aug. 24, 2021)

Mapping Psychedelic Drug Policy Reform in the United States (March 14, 2024)

Gael Girón S, Lang B, LeMaster S, Matthews K, McAllister S. Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel.  Comprehensive Report (2021)

March 28, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Political perspective on reforms, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Student presentation examines marijuana legalization and local regulations

Screen-Shot-2022-05-26-at-11.22.57-AM-768x952Sadly, we are now into our final few weeks of students presentaions in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar.  Excitingly, we still have nearly a dozen more presentations coming.  As I have explained before, students are expected to provide in this space some background on their presentation topic and links to some readings or relevant materials. The first of our presentations taking place in class next week will be looking at "Legalized Marijuana and Local Regulation." Here is how my student has described his topic along with background readings he has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):

The growing trend towards full legalization of recreational marijuana throughout the United States has resulted in a variety of quirks in different states’ legislative schemes. One important quirk is laws that allow municipalities to ban or heavily regulate legal marijuana in conflict with state-wide legalization.

Local control can be broadly grouped into two categories.  First, there is existing local control that applies neutrally to marijuana vendors and other businesses within a municipality as implemented through local health and zoning codes.  Second, there are proposed or implemented laws that allow localities to ban or heavily restrict the establishment and operation of marijuana vendors within municipal limits that would otherwise be permissible under state law.  While the first method of regulation should be allowed, the second method of regulation threatens to perpetuate the issues with illegal marijuana that full legalization aims to solve.  Between existing zoning rules and state-specific local bans, this issue affects most people in states with legal marijuana.

My presentation will focus on the background behind local marijuana bans, the interaction between federalism and localism, and the problems that legalization seeks to address.  I will then review the laws in states that have either allowed for local bans or are proposing local bans and the measurable effects of those laws.  Finally, I will analyze the effects of allowing bans on a local level versus blanket legalizations and develop recommendations for policymakers.

Suggested Sources:

Article: Cannabis Legalization In State Legislatures: Public Health Opportunity And Risk, 103 Marq. L. Rev. 1313 (2020)

Article: Cannabis Capitalism, 69 Buffalo L. Rev. 215 (2021)

Resource Page:  Investopedia, Marijuana Laws by State (2024).

Article: American Edibles: How Cannabis Regulatory Policy Rehashes Prohibitionist Fears and What to Do About It, 44 Seattle U. L. Rev. 915 (2021)  

Resource Page: Curate, Local Government Impact on Cannabis Industry (2024)

March 27, 2024 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)

Monday, March 25, 2024

Student presentation exploring Delta-8 THC products

Images (2)As noted in this prior post, there is an on-going debate in Ohio (as well as in many other jurisdictions) about so-called Delta-8 or "intoxicating hemp" products.  Helpfully, the last planned presentation for this week in my Marijuana Law seminar is going to cover issues surrounding Delta-8, and here are some resources that she provided for some background:

Background information about Delta-8:

Leas, EC. The Hemp Loophole: A Need to Clarify the Legality of Delta-8-THC and Other Hemp-Derived Tetrahydrocannabinol Compounds. Am J Public Health. 2021 Nov;111(11):1927-1931.

FDA and DEA Regulation:

FDA advises against use: 5 Things to Know about Delt-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol – Delta-8 THC. Food and Drug Administration. May 5, 2022.

Coverage of warning letters sent to Delta-8 brands by FDA.

Good summary of case interpreting "hemp" to include Delta-8 products under Farm Bill 

Good summary of possible DEA Interpretation

Coverage of the push from the states for federal regulation

Report on study regarding Delat-8 use and state regulation

March 25, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Student presentation explores "three controversial substances: trans fat, opioids, and marijuana"

I start my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar by encouraging students to consider whether and how marijuana is similar to other products and activities.  I am thus excited that another presentations taking place in my class this week will be exploring how marijuana compares to some other "constroversial substances."  Here is how my student has described her topic along with some links he provided:

Marijuana has been undergoing a revolution over the last two decades. In 2012, Colorado and Washington were the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana.  By 2024, 22 other states have followed suit.  On the federal level, in August 2023, the Department of Health and Human Resources recommended rescheduling marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act.  Since then, President Joe Biden has been under mounting pressure to follow through on his campaign pledge to decriminalize marijuana.  In wake of this movement, many advocates and opponents for marijuana reformation have looked at other consumer industries to see how the growing marijuana market may impact society.

The most notable, comparable industries looked at have been Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol, considering the prevalence, similarities, and health concerns of these substances to marijuana.  But in looking beyond these comparisons, there are two other industries have caused ongoing public health crises in American society that the marijuana market should learn from.  The obesity epidemic and opioid epidemic, spurred by trans fat and prescription/illicit opioid use respectively, have cost Americans hundreds of thousands of dollars and lives.  My paper will explore the similarities and differences of the histories, uses, and legal landscapes of these three controversial substances: trans fat, opioids, and marijuana. By examining how trans fat and opioids catalyzed their own respective epidemics, the marijuana industry can integrate proactive measures to safely regulate their products and mitigate the potential harm that comes from marijuana use.

Background Readings:

For a brief overview of the history and regulation of trans fat: "Shining the Spotlight on Trans Fats"

For a brief overview of the history and consequences of the opioid epidemic in the United States: "The Opioid Epidemic in the United States"

Reviewing the legal anatomy of product bans, specifically studying trans fat and marijuana:  "The Legal Anatomy of Product Bans to Protect the Public's Health"

Compiling and reviewing the impact of legalized marijuana to opioid overdose mortality: "State marijuana laws and opioid overdose mortality"

March 24, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (0)

Student presentation to explore automatic and petition-based expungement in Ohio

Download (2)Because I came into the marijuana space as a result of my long-standing interest in criminal justice reform, it is always exciting when a students in my Marijuana Law, Reform & Policy class decide to explore criminal law issues in their presentations and papers.  And the fourth presentation slated for this week is on a topic that is especially timely here in the Buckeye States, and here is how "The Intersection of Automatic and Petition-Based Expungement in Ohio" is described by my student (along with background readings):

Expungement is a process that allows individuals to clear their criminal records of certain offenses.  The benefit of expungement provides individuals with a fresh start by removing the barriers associated with having a past conviction.  The process of expungement varies from state to state regarding eligibility, offenses covered, and procedures.  Given the uprise in marijuana legalization, some states have implemented automatic expungement provisions to address past harms and reduce the impact of convictions.  However, Ohio’s approach to expungement remains petition-based which in turn results in low utilization among eligible individuals. 

One of the concerns in Ohio is the lack of resources needed to implement a successful automatic expungement process.  As seen in New Jersey, backlogs of expungement requests illustrate the implications and frustrations that individuals face while they wait for their records to be expunged.  Despite the benefits of expungement, such as increased employment, housing, and education – there are also concerns about potential risks to public safety.  Automatic expungement can streamline the process and increase accessibility, but this relief will need safeguards against unintended consequences.

My presentation focuses on the interplay between automatic and petition-based expungement.  As Ohio lawmakers continue the expungement conversation my first recommendation would be a dual approach that utilizes automatic relief for misdemeanors.  This process would still use the petition-based approach for felonies or cases with complex circumstances but would incorporate automatic expungement for misdemeanors.  This balance would help address public safety concerns about mistakenly expunging other non-marijuana convictions while increasing the utilization rate for eligible individuals.  I would also recommend allocating funding for expungement programs and the prosecutor’s office to increase awareness, optimize the process, and maintain the importance of record-clearing policies.

Recommended Reading:

1. Jana Hrdinova & Dexter Ridgway, Mapping Cannabis Social Equity: Understanding How Ohio Compares to Other States’ Post-Legalization Policies to Redress Past Harms, Drug Enf’t & Pol’y Ctr. (Jan. 30, 2024). 

2. Margaret Love, Jana Hrdinova & Dexter Ridgway, Marijuana Legalization and Record Clearing in 2022, Drug Enf’t & Pol’y Ctr. (Dec. 19, 2022). 

3. Dana Difilippo, New Jersey state police’s expungement backlog of 46K cases spurs lawsuit, N.J. Monitor (Oct. 23, 2023). 

4. J.J. Prescott & Sonja Starr, The Power of a Clean Slate, CATO (2022).

5. Dea Cortney & Samuel Edmunds, Understanding Expungement Under the New Cannabis Law, 80-SEP Bench & B. Minn. 25 (Sept. 2023).

March 24, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Student presentation examines "cannabis’ new home in the wellness industry"

Marijuana_Wellness_Products _Portland _Oregon_(2014)_-_2I 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. And, these days, when it seems many folks have moved beyond having any interest in (always interesting) medical marijuana topics, I get excited that students remeain eager to keep exploting modern medical-related issues.  The third presentation slated for this week is in this space, and my student has titled her presentation as "Modern Medical Marijuana: Cannabis’ New Home in the Wellness Industry." Here is her description (along with background readings):

Many medical professionals and patients alike have long considered Cannabis to be medicinal; it has been used in a multitude of medical capacities – from alleviating side-effects of cancer treatment to helping manage chronic pain.  While medical marijuana schemes were the predominant way of consuming cannabis legally in the United States, there is a paradigm shift now that legal adult-use recreational cannabis is growing in popularity. How does the medical marijuana industry evolve from here?  The answer may lie in the increasingly powerful and popular wellness industry.

 

In 2022, the global wellness industry amounted to $5.6 trillion dollars.  Notably, Public Health, Prevention, & Personalized Medicine amounted to $611 billion and Traditional & Commentary Medicine rang in at $519 billion. Cannabis consumption has become an increasingly prevalent tool in the wellness space, especially for helping to calm the nervous system and serve as an alternative to alcohol consumption – “California Sober” is a trendy new “healthy” way to indulge, and THC infused drinks for “relaxing” are booming in production.  However, some research suggests that substituting alcohol with marijuana is just an exchange of toxic effects.  So where does this leave “medical” marijuana in 2024; should we consider Cannabis to be a medicinal pain-management and disease-curing tool?  Or is it a healthier vice with some tangible wellness benefits?  This paper evaluates the medicinal properties of marijuana, its current place in the wellness system and marketability as a “healthy” indulgence, the wellness benefits of Cannabis, as well as some concerns in viewing the substance as part of this new wellness push.

Suggested Reading:

March 24, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Student presentation examines for federal marijuana rescheduling could impact immigration enforcement

Download (1)March madness continues in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar as students continue their "take over" of my class through presentations on the research topics of their choice. As noted many tmes before, before their presentations, students are expected to provide here some background on their topic and links to some readings or relevant materials. The second of our presentations taking place in class next week will be looking at how federal marijuana rescheduling could impact immigration enforcement. Here is how my student has described her topic along with background readings she has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):

On August 29, 2023, the Department of Health and Human Services released its recommendation to reschedule marijuana to a schedule III drug instead of its current standing as a schedule I drug.  The Department found that marijuana meets the three criteria for schedule III drugs: (1) it has less of a potential for abuse than schedule I and II drugs; (2) abuse of marijuana may lead to low or moderate physical dependence or high psychological dependence; and (3) it has a currently accepted medical use in the United States.  The Drug Enforcement Administration is currently investigating this recommendation and is expected to make a final decision of whether or not to reschedule by the November election.  While rescheduling would likely lead to greater medical access for U.S. citizens, it is unclear how it could affect immigration enforcement.

Currently, immigration law places harsh consequences on immigrants for marijuana activity.  Even in states where marijuana is decriminalized and or medically legalized, immigrants can be deported, found inadmissible, and barred from naturalization if they are caught possessing marijuana.  If marijuana is rescheduled, would immigration enforcement necessarily change?  Can immigrants still be found to have “moral turpitude” for involvement with marijuana once it is recognized the have medical legitimacy?  How may a second Biden versus Trump administration affect immigration enforcement after rescheduling?   My paper aims to discuss how the potential rescheduling may affect the disparate enforcement and consequences of marijuana criminalization on immigrants.

Some reading:

Congressional Research Service, Legal Sidebar, Legal Consequences of Rescheduling Marijuana, Jan. 2024

Marijuana Moment, DEA Tells Congress It Has ‘Final Authority’ On Marijuana, Regardless Of Health Agency’s Schedule III Recommendation, Jan 2024

Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Immigrants and Marijuana, May 2021

Washington Post, Trump vs. Biden on immigration: 12 charts comparing U.S. border security, Feb 2024

Politico, She Immigrated Legally. She Married a U.S. Citizen. But She Was Denied Citizenship for Working in Legal Cannabis, Dec 2023

March 21, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Student presentation on marijuana reform's impact on Fourth Amendment doctrines

1_EuqhjrrRrrURbXeneqhVRAThe next few weeks are going to bu busy ones in my  Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar, as we have 17(!) student presentation scheduled.  That means, as often noted before, this blog will soon have 17 more student desceriptions of their topic and  some links for background reading.   The first schedule presentations taking place in class next week will be exploring marijuana reform's impact on Fourth Amendment search doctrines.  Here is how my student has described his topic along with some links he provided:

The Fourth Amendment protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” U.S. Const. amend IV.  Warrantless police searches are therefore “per se unreasonable.” Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 357 (1967).  But that per se rule is not without its exceptions. Police can, for example, search a person’s car without a warrant if they have probable cause to do so. They can also stop and (sometimes) frisk a person based on a reasonable suspicion “that criminal activity may be afoot.” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 30 (1968).  Seeing or smelling marijuana might provide police with just the level of suspicion they need to conduct a search without first obtaining a warrant. But what if marijuana is no longer an automatic indicator of criminal activity?

Courts and legislatures in states like California, Colorado, and Oregon have had to grapple with just that question.  The legalization of marijuana has unsettled Fourth Amendment law in those and other jurisdictions.  It is not immediately clear anymore what exactly police can do when they encounter marijuana.  In many instances, the answer may be nothing at all.  This presentation will outline Fourth Amendment law as it relates to marijuana.  It will then sketch how the law has evolved in states where marijuana is now perfectly legal.  Finally, it will cover possible approaches a state can take to modify search and seizure law following full legalization — including (1) do nothing, (2) leave the issue for courts to resolve, or (3) pursue change through legislation.

Additional Reading:

March 20, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 18, 2024

Student presentation examines racial disparities in cannabis enforcement and reform's impact

As recent noted, March is when students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar "take over" my class through presentations on the research topics of their choice.  Before their presentations, students are expected to provide here some background on their topic. The second of our presentations taking place in class this week will be exploring "Racial Disparity in Marijuana Law Enforcement and the Impact of Legalization." Here is how my student has described her topic along with some links she provided:

My presentation, Racial Disparity in Marijuana Law Enforcement and the Impact of Legalization, explores the existence and implications of racial disparity in marijuana-related arrests and convictions.  This exploration begins with a brief overview of racial disparity, including a couple statistics to portray the true difference in race-based marijuana arrests and convictions.  We will then walk through a quick history of marijuana law, highlighting the deep roots that racial biases play in the push for harsher drug laws.  We will move to the effects that marijuana arrests and convictions have on an individual before examining factors today that contribute to the racial disparities.  After that, we will move on to legalization efforts in today’s political climate and the impact that such legalization has on racial disparities.  The presentation wraps up with a brief analysis of current proposed social equity efforts aimed to correct the racial disparities, highlighting the current debates in Ohio’s proposed laws.

Backround:

1. ACLU commentary, "Marijuana Legalization Is a Racial Justice Issue" (2019)

2. ACLU report, "A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform" (2020)

3. Brookings commentary, "Marijuana’s racist history shows the need for comprehensive drug reform" (2020)

4. NORML fact sheet, "Racial Disparity In Marijuana Arrests"

March 18, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Race, Gender and Class Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Student presentation examines the cannabis appellation program in California

1589693002933Following a well-derserved Spring Break, students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar get back to "taking over" my class through presentations on the research topics of their choice.  As I have explained before, students are expected to provide in this space some background on their topic and links to some readings or relevant materials.  The first of our presentations taking place in class next week will be looking at the cannabis appellation program in California. Here is how my student has described his topic along with background readings he has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):

Barrowing a powerful tool from California’s native wine-industry, marijuana-renowned regions in the Golden State will soon be able to cash in on their reputations as high-quality cannabis cultivators.  A state program will permit the creation and enforcement of unique appellations of origin for cannabis products.  According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, an appellation of origin is a protected designation that identifies the geographical origin of a product and typically includes production requirements.  As the rules take effect, the various terroirs of Humbolt County may become as widely recognized for marijuana as the subregions of the Napa Valley have become known for wine.  North Mendocino Coast Cannabis may eventually pack the promotional punch of Bordeaux, Gruyere Cheese, and Prosciutto di Parma.

My research will examine how an appellation program works as well as the general benefits and costs of one to producers, consumers, and other stakeholders.  While California is the first state to launch a Cannabis Appellation Program, this paper will discuss whether the legal tool of appellation would benefit other states given the current political, legal, and economic forces at play across the country.  California’s unique status as a first mover in the space, its legislative and regulatory knowledge of wine appellation programs, and the likely high value of its appellations compared to other states will be considered.  In the legal context, the impact of increased state legalization and federal rescheduling will be explored.  While potential federal rescheduling of marijuana may not immediately lead to interstate commerce, the federal government’s softer stance on the substance along with an increase in states legalizing recreational marijuana, may lead to a rise in legal products illicitly transported across state borders.  As more products from places like California and Colorado find their way across the country, producers in those states may desire to prevent the misrepresentation of a cannabis good’s origin to protect the brands of cultivators at home.  This paper will explore these dynamics and others to establish whether an appellation program makes sense outside of California.

Additional reading:

Mabi Vásquez, 3 Benefits And 3 Disadvantages Of The Designations Of Origin, Agavache (2021)

Cannabis Appellations Program (CAP), California Department of Food and Agriculture

Cannabis Appellations Program Proposed Text of Regulations, California Department of Food and Agriculture (2024)

Designation of Origin Regulations Comment Letter, Origins Council (2022)

Marcus Crowder, New appellations would celebrate individual terroir of cannabis strains, San Francisco Chronicle, Sept 22, 2020

March 16, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 4, 2024

Student presentation reviewing regulatory approaches to wide array of sybstances

The third of a set of student presentations taking place in my Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform class this week will be a wide array of regulatory structures for a wide array of drugs. Here is how my student has described his topic along with background readings he has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):

This project critically examines the historical and contemporary regulatory approaches adopted by the U.S. government towards the control and management of various drugs and substances, including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, opioids, crack/cocaine, methamphetamine, synthetic drugs, and psilocybin. Through a comprehensive review of legislative actions, enforcement strategies, and public health outcomes, we identify core errors and missteps in drug regulation, categorizing them into themes such as the influence of political and industry agendas, racial biases and social inequalities, disregard for scientific evidence, reactive regulatory measures, overreliance on prohibition and criminalization, underestimation of cultural and social factors, and the lack of early intervention and harm reduction strategies.

By dissecting these errors, the paper illuminates the multifaceted consequences of these regulatory approaches, including the perpetuation of social injustices, the exacerbation of public health crises, and the inefficacy of prohibitionist policies. The analysis is underpinned by an interdisciplinary framework that integrates insights from public health, social sciences, policy analysis, and law, offering a holistic understanding of the complexities inherent in drug regulation.

Drawing on the lessons learned from these regulatory missteps, evidence suggests a forward-looking perspective on drug policy that emphasizes the importance of science-based approaches, equity, harm reduction, and adaptability to changing societal attitudes and technical understandings. We argue for a paradigm shift towards policies that prioritize public health and social welfare, grounded in a nuanced understanding of the socio-economic and cultural dimensions of drug use. The paper concludes with actionable recommendations for policymakers, suggesting a roadmap for reforming drug regulation in a manner that addresses past errors while meeting the challenges of the future.

Background Materials on Specific Drugs:

Tobacco: Cummings KM, Ballin S, Sweanor D. The past is not the future in tobacco control. Prev Med. (Nov 2020) 

Alcohol: Mark Thornton, Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure, Cato Inst., (July 17, 1991)  \

MarijuanaWikipedia entry on legal history of cannabis 

Opioids: Jones MR, Viswanath O, Peck J, Kaye AD, Gill JS, Simopoulos TT. A Brief History of the Opioid Epidemic and Strategies for Pain Medicine. Pain Ther. (June 2018) ;  How FDA Failures Contributed to the Opioid Crisis, Andrew Kolodny, MD – AMA J Ethics. (August 2020) 

Crack/cocaine: Racial Double Standard in Drug Laws Persists Today, Equal Justice Initiative (12/9/2019);  Twenty Years of the Unjust Federal Crack Cocaine Law, ACLU, (Oct. 2006)

Methamphetamine: PBS Frontline, Timeline on "history and spread of meth"

Psilocybin: van Elk M, Fried EI. History repeating: guidelines to address common problems in psychedelic science. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. (Sept 2023)

Synthetic Drugs (Fentanyl, Bath Salts, Spice (K2), etc.): Vera Institue, In the Fentanyl Crisis, Lawmakers Are Making the Same Mistakes (Aug 2023)

 

March 4, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 1, 2024

Student presentation examines "Lessons from Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol for Cannabis Regulation"

Images (4)As I mentioned in this prior post, March is also when students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar "take over" my class through presentations on the research topics of their choice.  Before their presentations, students are expected to provide here some background on their topic and links to some readings or relevant materials.  The second of our presentations taking place in class next week will be looking at lessons from "Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol."  Here is how my student has described her topic along with background readings she has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):

The expansion of marijuana legalization in the United States is giving rise to questions regarding how "Big Marijuana" should be regulated.  As marijuana continues to be legalized at the state level, there is an expectation that "Big Marijuana" will soon be formed.  Insights from the regulatory landscapes of the tobacco and alcohol industries can provide valuable lessons for shaping the future of cannabis regulation.  For instance, Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol have historically used marketing tactics to appeal to non-users and youth in an attempt to gain new consumers.  In particular, the history of tobacco regulation highlights the adverse consequences of utilizing enticing advertisements and flavors to make products more appealing.  As the cannabis industry grows, it is crucial to pay attention to such tendencies, implementing measures to restrict the use of these harmful marketing tactics.  Additionally, challenges faced by tobacco regulators in reducing the number of retailers highlight the need for early and decisive action in the cannabis industry to avoid increasing the risk of illicit trade issues.

The successes and failures of regulations in the alcohol industry also shed light on potential strategies for cannabis regulation.  Lessons from alcohol regulations underscore the importance of taking an exhaustive approach that addresses not only sales but also advertising and promotional activities.  Adopting responsible marketing practices, like those seen in alcohol advertising, can also contribute to minimizing the allure of cannabis products to non-users and youth.  Additionally, balancing the number of licenses issued can help control the size of the legal cannabis market without fostering an unregulated illicit market.

While regulatory caution is essential, it is also important to consider harm reduction strategies.  Moreover, encouraging the use of less harmful cannabis products could help achieve a balance between public health and individual choice.  What "less harmful cannabis products" means is something that can be researched if funding is allocated. Hopefully, the combined lessons of tobacco and alcohol regulation can provide the cannabis industry with the means to develop a regulatory framework that prioritizes public health, minimizes social harms, and promotes responsible use.  As the cannabis industry creates regulations, learning from the successes and failures of tobacco and alcohol regulation is indispensable in creating a responsible and sustainable framework for the future.

Suggested readings:

March 1, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues | Permalink | Comments (0)