Tuesday, April 18, 2023
The 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.
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)
Monday, April 17, 2023
Student presentation examines autism as a potential qualifying considition for medical marijuana in Ohio
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.
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)
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.
Christine Chung, "Consumption of Marijuana Edibles Surges Among Children, Study Finds"
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
I 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.
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).
I 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.
GreenHealthDocs, "Can I Use My Medical Marijuana in Another State?"
Jennie Ryan et al., "Medicinal Cannabis: Policy, Patients, and Providers"
Americans for Safe Access, "State Medical Cannabis Laws Graded by Patient Advocates in New Report"
Monday, April 10, 2023
One 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.
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)
Saturday, April 8, 2023
Another 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.
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)
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Because 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)
I 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.
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)
Sunday, April 2, 2023
Students 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.
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)
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Rounding out an exciting week of diverse student presentations in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar, the fourth presentation scheduled for this week will look at marijuana use and parenting. Here is how my student has previewed her topic along with some background readings:
Law and practice regarding marijuana usage and regulation often proves helpful as a way to understand greater issues in our legal system. This is true in many areas of law, but perhaps even more so in the the practice of family law. When considering the effect of a parent's marijuana usage during a custody dispute, it becomes apparent just how much the unfettered discretion of judges in family law jurisprudence affects both parents' cases, but also the practice of family law as a whole.
So what causes such irregularity in child custody cases between two fit parents? The ever malleable "best interest of the child" standard which not only allows, but seemingly encourages, unabashed discretion and therefore unabashed bias from family court judges. In many states, morality is still a key factor in best interest determinations. In a society where the definition of morality varies from person to person, state to state, and county to county, it is impossible to guess whether a judge will consider marijuana usage to be moral or amoral. Or perhaps a judge will opt to compare marijuana usage to cigarette smoking which acts a "tie-breaker" between both parents. Or a judge may completely ignore the usage as commonplace and not allow it to affect their decision-making. The impossibility of knowing creates a dangerous gamble for parents who choose to use marijuana.
This is all made worse when we are confronted with the data drought surrounding marijuana and parenting, with outdated studies examining parental marijuana usage prior to more than 15 states legalized recreational usage. Without updated statistics and evidence, parents will find it difficult to demonstrate that their marijuana usage is mainstream and does not affect their parenting. This lack of data further stigmatizes marijuana using parents to judges who may already have biased ideas regarding weed usage. The stigma is perhaps furthered by the media narratives of the "cannamom," a polarizing depiction of white mothers who loudly proclaim that weed makes them better parents. Sensationalized coverage of parents who do use marijuana will only push hesitant judges further away from parents who use marijuana and allow that bias to encroach upon their best interest analysis, and thusly, parents' rights to the care of their child.
By Jane C. Murphy, "Eroding the Myth of Discretionary Justice in Family Law: The Child Support Experiment" (1991)
Blevins v. Bardwell, 784 So. 2d 166 (Miss. 2001).
From USA Today, "More parents are smoking pot around kids; children inhaling second-hand smoke" (May 2018)
From the BBC, "The Cannamoms Parenting with Cannabis" (Nov 2021)
Monday, March 27, 2023
Continuing to showcase the diversity of issues covered when students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar "take over" the with their presentations, the third presentation scheduled for this week will look at psychedelic rituals. Specifically, my student will explore "Entheogenesis" and here is how she has described her topic along with background readings:
Purpose: This is an investigation regarding the origins of the Christian church and the rituals that the founders drew inspiration from at the dawn of the new age. As the church seized power, the ancient drug rituals were eradicated and along with the 75,000 female spiritual leaders who performed them. There are some theories as to why these women were executed, however, the main purpose of this paper is to enlighten those who plan to vote in the upcoming election.
This Fall, it is anticipated that Ohioans will vote on abortion and marijuana legalization simultaneously. Voters may consider legalization as a "liberal" voting issue and vote against it due to a false association with pro-choice support. Voters who anticipate voting based on their moral or religious beliefs should feel assured that legalization is not against their biblical belief origins. The purpose of this paper is to emphasize that ancient religions promoted safe drug use and why people in power wanted to prevent this from continuing. My conclusion is that those voting based on their religious beliefs can feel more comfortable knowing that their religious institutions were founded on spiritual drug practices. With the legalization of marijuana and other psychedelic substances, religious followers could be introduced to long-forgotten, mystical ceremonies that make them feel closer to their God(s), such as their ancestors and predecessors did before the demonization of these practices.
Muraresku, B. C. (2020). The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name. St. Martin's Press.
Harris, T. (2021, October 7). The eleusinian mysteries. Hellenic Museum. Retrieved March 7, 2023,
Gillis-Smith, P., & Chapel, M. (2022, May 12). Psychedelics, spirituality, and a culture of seekership. Harvard Divinity School
Students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar often focus on cutting-edge issues in their class presentations on the research topics of their choice. The second presentation slated for this week could not possibly be more cutting edge, as my student will be discussing gun possession and marijuana use. Here is how she has described her topic along with background readings she has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):
Although individual states have not necessarily legislated that possessing a gun is unlawful for state compliant marijuana users, cannabis’s federal illegality seems to produce this result. The process for obtaining a gun – regardless of what state the individual resides in – requires the individual to fill out the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms’ Form 4473. Form 4473 question 21g states:
"Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreation purposes in the state where you reside."
Consequently, individuals that are fully in compliance with the marijuana laws in their home state are being stripped of their Second Amendment right, regardless of if the plant is being used for medicinal or adult use purposes. Therefore, marijuana users who wish to possess a gun have three options: stop using marijuana entirely, stop using state compliant marijuana and instead obtain it from an illicit source, or lie. Although ATF agents and prosecutors report that due to limited resources, they are not inclined to prioritize the nonviolent crime of lying on a form over more serious charges, lying on the form and obtaining a gun while being a marijuana user remains a federal felony offense.
In the wake of the 2022 Bruen holding, litigation on this matter seems to (so far) sway in favor of gun rights activists. But there remain many unanswered questions in this area. The implications of either a legitimization of state-legal marijuana use on the federal level (while the plant remains on Schedule I), or of an acknowledgement that the gun control/background check process can be changed, could be massive.
Links to Background Reading:
From the Washington Post, "Lying to ATF on gun-purchase form yields few prosecutions, data shows"
From the US Attorney's Office in the Western District of Oklahoma, "Federal Prosecutors Aggressively Pursuing Those Who Lie in Connection With Firearm Transactions"
From the Reason Foundation, "Medical Marijuana Patients Are Being Denied Gun Rights"
From US Congressman Alex Mooney, "There Are Two Sides Of The Fence, Use Marijuana And Give Up Gun Ownership Or Give Up Marijuana And Be A Gun Owner."
March 27, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
As regular readers know, students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar are now in the midst of "taking over" my class through presentations on the research topics of their choice. Before their presentations, 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 for next week will be looking at "Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome". Here is how my student has described his topic along with background readings he has provided for his classmates (and the rest of us):
As more American states end cannabis prohibition, regulators and lawmakers are faced with the difficult task of implementing rules to govern the growth, sale, and use of a plant that we still seem to know very little about. Empirically and anecdotally, moderate cannabis use looks to be less harmful than use of other legal regulated substances like alcohol and tobacco. As with nearly all substances, however, excessive chronic use of cannabis can have negative health effects. One such side effect is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), a relatively rare syndrome which was first reported in Australia in 2004 and is characterized by cyclical vomiting and nausea paired with compulsive hot bathing in heavy cannabis users. Despite being first described nearly two decades ago, many questions remain as to the actual prevalence and exact causes of the syndrome.
This paper will discuss current data surrounding CHS and the implications this condition has for the ever-growing post-prohibition world of cannabis. More studies are certainly necessary to determine how to prevent and treat CHS so that we can form a responsible and common-sense cannabis policy. There is a significant possibility that current data and studies about CHS will be used to argue for continued prohibition in states that have not yet legalized the plant. However, based on what we currently know about the syndrome, the existence of CHS is not a reason to continue prohibition. While extremely heavy high-THC cannabis users should be concerned with developing the adverse symptoms of CHS, moderate and infrequent users do not generally develop the condition. Furthermore, CHS is relatively rare and, if diagnosed early, has a simple cure — upon ceasing cannabis use, symptoms recede quickly and do not return until the afflicted user re-ingests cannabinoids.
After a review of the data, the discussion will turn to possible responses to CHS rates such as THC limits, education of cannabis users, and proactive moves the cannabis industry can make to lessen the likelihood that CHS is used as a scare tactic to continue prohibition. Rather than perpetuate a misguided prohibition scheme that unfairly punishes users of cannabis, a substance empirically less harmful than legal substances such as alcohol or tobacco, we should continue to study CHS, determine with relative certainty what causes it, and educate the public on harm-reduction methods that will prevent CHS.
From Leafy, "Is "scromiting" from smoking weed a thing?"
Monday, March 20, 2023
Student presentation exploring the relationship between parental marijuana use and child abuse/neglect
Highlighting yet again the diversity of issues covered when students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar "take over" the class by giving presentations, the third presentation scheduled for this week will look at parental marijuana use and the neglect/abuse of children. Specifically, here is how my student has described her topic along with background readings:
Data surrounding the relationship between parental marijuana use and the neglect/abuse of children is severely limited. Even so, parental marijuana use may be used to determine the outcomes of a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation. Marijuana is lumped under the “alcohol and substance abuse” check box on most CPS investigation assessment forms. This presentation will explore the different ways that parental marijuana use may factor into a CPS investigation and what role racial biases play in determining whether parental marijuana use amounts to substance abuse for purposes of an investigation.
Sylia Wilson & Soo Hyun Rhee, "Causal Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Parents, Parenting, and Children: A Systematic Review," Preventive Medicine, Volume 156 (March 2022).
After a spring break week, we are back to student presentations in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar. The first presentation will be a carry-over on marijuana and mental health from an earlier class, and then the next presentation scheduled for this coming week will take a close look at "stoned drivers" and how marijuana can impair an individual's ability to drive. Here is how my student has described her topic and some background reading:
As recreational marijuana is legalized in more states, the question of how cannabis causes impairment becomes more of a public safety concern. This is especially true in regard to "stoned drivers" and how marijuana can impair an individual's ability to drive. Alcohol can be tested through one's blood alcohol content/level (BAC), however, there still has yet to be a consistent way to test a cannabis users impairment while driving. This presentation will explore the impact of cannabis on driving and how it compares to the impact of alcohol. Here are some links for background reading:
Institute of Living, "Marijuana vs. Alcohol: What's The Difference in Impaired Driving?"
New York Times, "Is Driving High as Dangerous as Driving Drunk?"
Sunday, March 5, 2023
Student presentation on "The Role of Medical Cannabis Programs in a Society Moving Towards Adult-Use Regulation"
Rounding out an exciting first week of student presentations in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar, the fourth presentation scheduled for the coming week will look at "The Role of Medical Cannabis Programs in a Society Moving Towards Adult-Use Regulation." Here is how my student has previewed his topic along with a bunch of background readings:
Over the last three decades, cannabis has slowly become an increasingly salient topic of debate in the United States – for a litany of different reasons. As the plant began to shed the stigma placed on it by politicians and citizens alike, pioneering researchers in the 1980s and 1990s started to take a closer look at cannabis’ properties and effects on humans (based on hundreds of years of cannabis use as medicine in eastern cultures). Beginning with California in 1996, states began to fulfill their purposes as laboratories of democracy with respect to cannabis through legalization of medical cannabis programs based on data collected by researchers.
However, as the debate over cannabis has progressed into more modern contexts, society has become increasingly perceptive to federal de-scheduling of the drug and implementation of adult-use policies in states across the country. As state adult-use programs have continued to grow in numbers, there is a split in opinion as to a) how medical programs should be treated moving forward; b) whether they were ever really more than a trojan horse for the eventual full legalization of cannabis across the country; c) and whether resources should continue to be applied to their improvement and growth at all, if full legalization occurs.
This research project will focus on addressing this debate through i) an examination of history behind medical cannabis and the data supporting cannabis’ viability as a medicine; ii) determining issues present in medical cannabis programs as adult-use programs continue to burgeon; iii) potential effects of federal de-scheduling of cannabis on medical markets; and iv) examining Ohio’s medical cannabis program as a case study on the law, policy, and politics underlying the debate -- and whether Ohio’s program is worth “fixing” with the growing imminence of an adult-use regime.
Britannica ProCon.org, "Timeline on Medical Cannabis Progression" (Focus 1974 – Present)
Antonio Waldo Zuardi, "History of cannabis as a medicine: a review" (published in 2006)
New York Times article on California’s Prop 215, "Medical Marijuana Use Winning Backing" (Oct. 1996)
Third Way Report, "America’s Marijuana Evolution" (Aug. 2017)
Hannah Carliner et al., "Cannabis use, attitudes, and legal status in the U.S.: A review" (published in 2017)
Mayo Clinic, "Medical Marijuana"
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Chapter 4 on State of Evidence, "Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids" (published in 2017)
News report on 'fixing' Ohio’s medical cannabis program, "Lawmakers look to solve issues with Ohio's medical marijuana program" (May 2022)
March 5, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Medical Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (1)
Friday, March 3, 2023
Showcasing the diversity of issues covered when students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar "take over" the second half of the class by giving presentations, the third presentation scheduled for next week will look at sports. Specifically, my student will explore "reconceptualizing WADA’s 'spirit of sport' criterion," and here is how she has described her topic along with background readings:
Reconceptualizing WADA’s “spirit of sport” criterion:
In order to be placed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited substance list, two out of three criteria must be met: (1) posing a health risk to athletes, (2) potentially enhancing performance or (3) violating the spirit of sport. While the first two criterion are rooted in fact and science, the last criterion has raised controversy as a “catch-all provision” that is based on vague ideals with little operative force.
Last September, WADA announced that Cannabis would remain on the 2022 prohibited list. Interestingly enough, WADA only cited to this third criterion, “the spirit of sport”, in their explanation as to why cannabis remains on the list.
This presentation briefly explores why cannabis does not meet the first two criterion, and then moves to attack the use of the third criterion as an overreach of WADA’s power. After exploring the consistent drug use in sport dating back to 776 BCE, and then discussing the modern use of WADA’s therapeutic use exemption, it becomes clear that drug use is not the antithesis of “the spirit of sport”. Finally, this presentation makes procedural recommendations to WADA and questions whether the spirit of sport criterion should be abolished, edited, or left as-is.
From Athletes for Care, "It’s Time to Stop Demonizing Athletes for Using Marijuana"
From Leafly.com, "Cannabis in Sports: Unpacking Exemptions for Therapeutic Use"
From Scientific American, "Weed Shouldn’t Be Banned for Elite Athletes, Some Experts Say"
When students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar "take over" the second half of my class by giving presentations, they always cover a diverse array of cutting-edge topics. So, this very first week of presentations, a look at tax issues will be followed by a presentations focused on "Medical Marijuana and the Mental Health Crisis." Here is how my student has described her topic along with background readings she has provided:
The mental health crisis in the United States is growing. The stigmas surrounding mental health, as well as the barriers surrounding treatment, lead many individuals to self-soothe. Drug use may be one method of choice. Medical marijuana could be an effective form of treatment, particularly for anxiety and panic disorders, but the lack of research and education about its efficacy and use make it an unrealistic option for many.
Though medical marijuana is growing in popularity as an alternative treatment method, it remains taboo throughout the world of practicing physicians. Medical marijuana is not prescribed by a doctor – though it can be recommended (see Conant v. Walters, 309 F.3d 629 (9th Cir. 2002)) – and medical education does not present marijuana as a viable treatment option. These limitations pose significant obstacles to both research and effective use, perpetuating a growing crisis with a limited number of answers. This presentation will discuss the role of medical marijuana in treating mental illness, focusing on the systematic barriers that leave prescribers without authority and patients without aid.
National Alliance on Mental Illness, "Mental Health By the Numbers"
Susan A. Stoner, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, "Effects of Marijuana on Mental Health: Anxiety Disorders"
Anastasia Evanoff et. al, "Physicians-in-training are not prepared to prescribe medical marijuana," 180 Drug and Alcohol Dependence Volume 151 (Nov. 2017).
March 3, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Medical community perspectives, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (5)
As long-time readers know of this blog should know, students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar "take over" the second half of my class through presentations on the research topics of their choice. Before their presentations, 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 take place next week and will be looking at state tax issues. Here is how my student has described his topic along with background readings he has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):
Marijuana is business. Marijuana is revenue. Even though recreational marijuana has only been legal for a handful of years, the United States Bureau of Economic Activity has been tracking illegal market activity in relation to generally legal market activity. This required the BEA to attempt to track how drugs such as marijuana was impacting the economic activity within the United States. The outcome? The National nominal gross domestic product was raised by 0.2 percentage points.
It is clear that marijuana has had an effect on the national economy even though it is illegal. The question now turns to; how have states who have legalized recreational use made their money through marijuana? How much tax revenue are these states bringing in? And, how is that money being spent in those states?
Many Americans wonder how their tax money is being spent on a day-to-day basis. Where does the sales tax go when I go to the grocery store? Where does twenty percent of my income go every paycheck? Where does the tax money go after I spend money at an adult use dispensary? Questions one and two are hard to answer. Question three, on the other hand, is actually very easy to find out. Many states have set up stringent tax structures relating to their adult use industry. This may be laid out initially in their statutory plan, or the states may wait and see how much they actual earn to see how they should dispense those funds.
Either way, almost every state has a very strict dispense program. Each state uses their marijuana tax revenue differently. Many states add some of the revenue to their general state fund. Many divide the revenue between counties and municipalities who have a dispensary in their jurisdiction. Many use the tax revenue for social justice programs. A few give the money to public schools. A few more give the money to their Department of Health for drug misuse education and programs. One is using the money to offset the now decades long decrease in tobacco tax revenue.
Marijuana has been a very profitable industry for those states who have legalized adult recreational use. The amount of data on how states have shifted on the national pre- and post-legalization is very small. It is quite hard to see how well states are doing compared to how they could have been. Despite this, many states have found that the illegal drug trade is not going away, so they might as well profit on the activity. Alaska Reported more than 3% of their state revenue for fiscal year 2021 was from cannabis sales. Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington also reported at least 1% of their total state revenue was from cannabis sales. What does this mean? Marijuana IS BUSINESS. The question that remains, and is quite hard to answer, states who have yet to legalize recreational use have obviously seen these profits . . . how have they not legalized?
Interesting websites and articles for background
The Motley Fool, "Marijuana Tax Revenue: A State-by-State Breakdown"
Urban Institute, "State and Local Backgrounders: Cannabis Taxes"
Bureau of Economic Analysis, "Tracking Marijuana in the National Accounts"
March 3, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Taxation information and issues | Permalink | Comments (1)