Sunday, April 7, 2024

Student presentation examines the modern realities of modern marijuana politics and policy

Download (3)The politics of marijuana reform is an ever-evolving topic, especially here in Ohio. And this topic is a focal point for one of my students this week in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar. 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 this week has been described (along with background readings) this way:

When legislators and citizens find themselves at odds when contemplating policy, the citizens often turn to the ballot initiative. This is often the case in a number of states where legislators are hesitant to enact what might be divisive marijuana reform.  As such, the ballot initiative has found itself intertwined with the direct democracy engaged in marijuana advocacy.  But what happens when the marijuana conversation enters particularly conservative states, and the legislators aren't keen to accept the voters' will?  With marijuana being legalized in most liberal-leaning states, the topic has become more controversial in areas with particularly deep-seated ideas about how marijuana will negatively impact communities.

Whether through vocal opposition or more insidious procedural challenges, legislators have made their disdain for marijuana known.  The embers of the war on drugs still glow warmly in red states as the formalities of the ballot initiative are weaponized to inhibit supporters.  Signature, district, and single-subject requirements all lend opportunities to prevent meaningful reform where policy-based opposition fails.  In the shadows of the 2020 presidential election where democracy was shaken, many officials have deemed the will of the people to be inconsequential and something to be ignored where inconvenient. Moving forward, the need for federal legalization is stronger than ever, and advocates must navigate a process and game where the chips are undoubtedly stacked against them.

Background reading:

Law review article:  "Taking the Initiative: Marijuana Law Reform and Direct Democracy"

Ohio law on Initiated Statute procedures

Ohio Issue 2 reform press coverage: "Ohio GOP Senate President Lays Out Process To Revise Marijuana Law, Arguing Voters Didn’t Understand Some Provisions"

Assembled readings on specific topics, Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Who decides | Permalink


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