Wednesday, April 15, 2020
As students "take over" my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar through presentations on research topics of their choice, I continue to enjoy hearing about (and posting here about) their selected topics. The third presentation slated for this week will focus on marijuana stocks. Here is part of the student's description of the issue and some background readings he has flagged:
While the market for investors is nearly impossible to predict, as the Covid-19 pandemic is currently demonstrating, certain industries seem to be “recession proof” and are viewed as “safer” investments. One such industry is the “sin” industry. Stocks that fall under this category include tobacco, alcohol, weapons, gambling, sex, and most importantly, marijuana. While many of these industries have been publicly traded on major US stock exchanges for decades, the first marijuana stock was not traded until February 27, 2018. Thus, the industry is still in its infancy with many questions left unanswered. I will focus on three areas of law impacting marijuana stocks: 1) the Controlled Substance Act, 2) taxes, and 3) fraud. Further, the history of marijuana stocks in the US, the potential outlook for marijuana stocks in the future, and my opinion on which marijuana stock will be the most successful will be discussed.
Fabian Gorsler, A Marijuana Company is Listed on the U.S. Stock Exchange for the First Time, Highsnobiety (Feb. 27, 2018).
Casey W. Baker, Marijuana’s Continuing Illegality and Investors’ Securities Fraud Problem: The Doctrines of Unclean Hands and IN PARI Delicto, 12 J. Bus. Entrepreneurship & L. 93 (2019).
Erin Fuchs, The Legal Risk of Investing in Weed is ‘Remote’ and ‘Theoretical’, Yahoo Finance (Nov. 3, 2018).
April 15, 2020 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Taxation information and issues | Permalink | Comments (0)
Continuing to provide in this space background on from students who are "taking over" Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar through presentations on research topics of their choice, the second presentation this week will focus on employment law issues. Here is how the student working on this topic describes her plans along with background readings she has provided:
While marijuana is legal in some form in thirty-three states, it does not mean that any citizen of those states is immune to negative repercussions for their legal consumption. Even where medical marijuana is legal, not every state guarantees legal protections. My presentation will center on the current state of consumer rights, specifically in the realm of employment. Just as states vary on legalization, few states agree on how marijuana consumption should be treated in an employment context. Many states are hesitant to require an employer to change its hiring or drug-enforcement policies, despite the change in marijuana law. Other states provide employment protections by forbidding an employer from retaliating against an employee for any legal activity performed outside work so long as it does not affect the employee’s ability to perform, without regard to marijuana specifically. I will explore the current trends in employee protections as marijuana law gradually becomes more robust and organized.
The Sham Of Drug Testing For Benefits: Walker, Scott And Political Pandering (old, but still very good)
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar continue "taking over" through presentations on research topics of their choice, and I will continue providing in this space background on their topics and links to relevant materials they provide. The first presentation this week will focus on the country to the north, and here is how the students working on this big topic describes their plans along with background readings they have provided:
The presentation will focus on medical marijuana in Canada. Like with the United States, the national attitude towards medical marijuana in Canada has evolved over the years. It was only four short years after California effectively legalized medical marijuana in 1996, that a Canadian court ruled Canadians had a right to use medical marijuana. It took almost two decades after that court ruling for marijuana to be fully legalized in Canada. Because marijuana is legal in Canada, there is much that can be learned from research conducted in the country. Research on illegal drugs is often met with push back from the government. Full legalization has opened the door for all aspects of research into the effectiveness of marijuana for treating all kinds of illnesses. This research is necessary to facilitate a better understanding of marijuana and it benefits world-wide.
Government of Canada, "For people registered or designated to produce cannabis for medical purposes"
Government of Canada, "Information for Health Care Professionals: Cannabis (marihuana, marijuana) and the cannabinoids"
Thursday, April 9, 2020
For my paper, I'll be looking at the regulatory frameworks states have developed for edibles. After some background on edibles and their significance to the marijuana industry, I'll discuss the varying levels regulations that states have employed. Then I discuss the three major types of regulations for edibles: (1) testing; (2) packaging and labeling; and (3) THC content. Finally, I conclude by assessing the effectiveness of each type and making my own recommendations for moving forward.
For background, please see the resources below:
Alice G. Walton, Is Eating Marijuana Really Riskier than Smoking It?, FORBES (June 4, 2014).
Jeff Rossen & Jovanna Billington, Rossen Reports Update: Edible Marijuana That Looks Like Candy Is Sending Kids to the ER, TODAY (Sept. 16, 2017).
Robert J. MacCoun & Michelle M. Mello, Half-Baked--The Retail Promotion of Marijuana Edibles, 372 NEW ENG. J. MED. 989 (2015).
Mike Montgomery, Edibles Are the Next Big Thing for Pot Entrepreneurs, FORBES (July 19, 2017).
Ryan Vandrey et al., Cannabinoid Dose and Label Accuracy in Edible Medical Cannabis Products, 313 JAMA 2491-93 (2015).
Daniel G. Barrus et al., Tasty THC: Promises and Challenges of Cannabis Edibles, RTI PRESS 6 (Nov. 2016).
April 9, 2020 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Medical Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
As I mentioned in this recent post, students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar are now "taking over" my class by making presentations on research topics of their choice. The COVID-19 crisis means my resilient students are doing their presenting online, and students are still providing in this space background on their topic and links to some relevant materials before they present. Another coming presentation will focus on sports (remember those?), and here is how my student has described his topic along with background readings he has provided:
For my paper, I will be discussing the intersectionality of Sports and Marijuana. I will primarily focus on athletes, both past and present, being used as a vehicle in leading the charge for reforming marijuana in their respective sports, but also in America. Athletes of past have had influences on a variety of societal issues and inequalities, and I will compare some of the past actions to how athletes of today can affect marijuana. I will also focus on the new agreements in both the MLB and NFL regarding their stance on marijuana, and what impact that will have on the reformation of sports. I will conclude my paper by predicting what the future of sports’ stance will have on the reformation of America. Below are a few links I’ve read over which I will be using in my paper:
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
As I mentioned in this recent post, students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar are now "taking over" my class by making presentations on research topics of their choice. Though the COVID-19 crisis means my resilient students are doing their presenting to the class online, going online has been going pretty well so far.
As regular readers know, students provide in this space a little background on their topic and links to some relevant materials before they present. Our first presentation planned for this week will focus on marijuana-influenced driving, and here is how my student has described his topic along with background readings he has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):
Marijuana legalization proponents quite often compare marijuana use to that of alcohol, claiming that alcohol consumption is far more dangerous, especially when a vehicle is involved. Legalization dissenters, on the other hand, often make the argument that legalization would lead to rampant use and, inevitably, increases in traffic fatalities and damages as the result of people driving while stoned. The aim of my class presentation and paper is to explore three topics related to Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana, or, as I like to call it, "High Driving": (1) Marijuana’s effect on driving ability, (2) The different state approaches to testing and prosecuting High Driving, and (3) what research shows about the relationship between the different legal marijuana regimes, the prevalence of High Driving, and the resulting consequences.
For background on these three interrelated topics, please reference the resources below:
"Drug Impaired Driving/Marijuana Drug-Impaired Driving Laws" (slightly out of date)
April 7, 2020 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Student presentation on the very timely topic of "The Legal and Regulatory Framework for Marijuana Delivery"
As long-time readers know and as I mentioned in this recent post, students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar this time of year typically "take over" my class by making in-class presentations on research topics of their choice. This year, of course, the COVID-19 crisis has precluded in-person gatherings, but my resilient students are still hard at work on their projects and will be presenting to the class online.
Before presentations, students typically provide in this space a little background on their topic and links to some readings or relevant materials. The second of our presentations planned for this week will focus on the very timely topic of marijuana delivery rules, and here is how my student has described her topic along with background readings she has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):
The topic I am interested in is the legal and regulatory framework of marijuana delivery services. In states that allow recreational use, several companies have tried, with varying degrees of success, to start marijuana delivery services, like Postmates but for marijuana products. In terms of additional reading, here are a few suggestions:
- London Ryynanen England, Not to Be Blunt, but Consumers Demand Weed with Their Pizza: Model Legislation for Marijuana Courier and Home Delivery Services, 20 SMU Sci. & Tech. L. Rev. 343 (2017)
- Amelia McDonell-Parry, Weed Delivery Officially Legal in California, Rolling Stone (Jan. 20, 2019)
- Sophie Quinton, Pizza, Pad Thai and Pot: Home Delivery of Marijuana Is Legal In These States, HuffPost (Apr. 3, 2018)
- Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, Home Delivery of Medical Cannabis Report (2018)
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Starting student presentations with "Better Branding on the Big Screen: How the Marijuana Industry Can Use Product Placement to Build Increase Support"
As long-time readers know, students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar typically "take over" my class after Spring Break week through in-class presentations on the research topics of their choice. This year, of course, the COVID-19 crisis has disrupted our usual plans by disrupting usual schedules and precluding in-person gatherings. But, I am pleased and proud to now be able to report that my resilient students are still hard at work on their projects and will be presenting to the class online.
As long-time readers also should know, before presentations, students are expected to provide in this space a little background on their topic and links to some readings or relevant materials. The first of our presentations taking place this week will focus on marijuana and media, as the title of this post highlights, and here is how my student has described his topic along with the background readings he has provided for his classmates (and the rest of us):
Reefer Madness is often credited for spreading anti-marijuana sentiment across the country. Could modern movies depicting marijuana have the opposite effect? This paper asks whether film can influence our opinions on marijuana use and legalization. While evidence regarding marijuana specifically is sparse, other data shows that movies can affect the viewer’s opinion on a given topic.
If movies do have a persuasive effect, how can the marijuana industry harness this effect to build public support? Luckily, a mechanism for doing so already exists: product placement. Many different companies (including tobacco companies) use already use product placement to produce a positive view of their products among consumers, subsequently leading to higher sales. The marijuana industry can use “generic” product placement not to increase sales of a specific product, but to build a positive image of marijuana more generally.
My paper discusses legal and industry barriers that could prevent or minimize the industry’s ability to engage in product placement. Taking these barriers into account, the industry must place its products strategically. However, if done correctly, product placement would be a viable persuasive tool.
Marijuana Product Placement, Branding on the Rise as Marketing Execs Reimagine Legal Ganja: An article covering the recent trend of marijuana product placement in an attempt to portray marijuana use in more positive light. The basis of my paper and presentation is that this type of product placement can be used to help push public opinion to support for marijuana use.
Changing Real-World Beliefs with Controversial Movies: An article discussing how film effectively influences viewers’ attitudes and beliefs on a given topic and an analysis of a study attempting to quantify this effect.
Here’s Smoking At You, Kid: Has Tobacco Product Placement in the Movies Really Stopped?: Written just before the turn of the century, this law review article discusses the history of tobacco product placement in movies and possible ways to prohibit the practice.
High Art: The Subversive History of Stoner Comedies: An article discussing the marijuana-user community’s interactions with film, and how stoner comedies provided leading-role opportunities for minority actors even when the rest of Hollywood wouldn’t.
A Christmas Miracle: Washington Court Overturns Marijuana Sign Rules That Banned String Lights Spelling ‘Pot’: A Reason piece discussing a recent Washington state court decision concluding that marijuana advertising is “lawful activity” for the purposes of commercial speech. The case is relevant because commercial speech only receives First Amendment protection if it concerns lawful activity.
‘Easy Rider’ at 50: How the Rebellious Road Movie Shook Up the System: a look back at Easy Rider’s impact on the filmmaking industry.
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
the title of this post is the title of this great new report authored by The Ohio State University's Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) now available via SSRN. Though I am listed as a lead author on the report, this document is truly the product of the collective great work of so many DEPC folks. the report also includes the input of dozens of legal academics who participated in a spring 2019 workshop bringing together those who teach or have an interest in teaching in law schools about various aspects of drug policy and law. Here is an abstract for the report:
Despite the significant impact of laws and policies surrounding controlled substances, few classes in the typical law school curriculum focus on either basic legal doctrines or broader scholarship in this field. This gap in law school curricula is especially problematic given the shifts in the landscapes of legalized cannabis and hemp, as well as the range of legal and policy responses to the recent opioid crisis.
To better understand how law schools currently approach these issues and to identify how drug policy and law could be better incorporated into law school curricula, we conducted two surveys of all accredited law schools in the U.S. and hosted a workshop of legal scholars who work in this space. The surveys and workshop were designed to identify law school courses currently taught and the primary obstacles to teaching this subject matter. The results show that the vast majority of law schools do not teach courses touching on drugs or the evolving legal structures around cannabis, and this is true even for law schools located in states with legalized cannabis markets.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
The fourth and final planned presentation (both this week and for the semester) by a student in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar will look closely at the intersection of marijuana use and parenting. Here's a brief summary of the student's approach to this topic, along with some relevant articles she assembled:
As states increasingly legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, one largely unexplored area is the complicated relationship between marijuana use and parenting. As with other substances (both legal and illicit), marijuana can have a significant impact on the lives of both parents and children. Parents who use marijuana likely have conflicting interests and may prioritize their own use over the care of their children. This could take the form of neglect, through inadequate supervision, or through misallocation of family resources to buy marijuana and other non-essentials. Parents who use marijuana also risk exposing their children to marijuana in any number of ways. Second-hand smoke is an obvious risk, as is the potential for children to gain access to marijuana (particularly edibles).
Expectant and breast-feeding mothers are also of particular concern, as there is some data linking marijuana use at these critical stages in development to a whole host of lifelong issues in children. As with most issues surrounding marijuana use, there simply is not yet enough data in this area. For example, although some studies have linked marijuana use during pregnancy to particular developmental problems, existing studies have not been able to isolate marijuana as the cause (as opposed to other drugs, nicotine, etc.). I plan on providing background on existing public health research, giving examples of how various states are dealing with this issue, and presenting issues that have not been adequately addressed by research or policy.
April 10, 2019 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)
The third planned presentations from a student in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar this coming week will, in his words, "marshal the tools of critical thinking and scientific skepticism against the mounting claims about medical marijuana." Here is how this student explains his plans and suggested background reading:
I have noticed worrying signs in the medical cannabis industry that bear all the hallmarks of pseudoscience and “alternative medicine.” For example, how many ailments fall under the ever-broadening curative umbrella of CBD? The ability to think critically and skeptically is the most useful skill we have as humans for discerning the truth, and it is most important to engage such skills when our biases most threaten our steady course. Remember the frequent allusions this semester to those who embrace medical legalization as a stepping stone to recreational use? Such people may be more inclined to jettison their critical thinking capabilities when it comes to scrutinizing claims in whose outcome one holds an interest.
I will provide a brief primer on thinking critically and skeptically, and then describe the signs of pseudo-scientific reasoning. Then, armed with this toolkit of sorts, I will explore the various claims about the benefits of cannabis as a medicine, including the current research, its blind spots, and its shortcomings. I will then critically explore the ethics and policy behind prohibition, comparing and contrasting cannabis with prescription drugs and alcohol; we shall see how the claimed justifications for cannabis prohibition stand up to critical scrutiny.
Links to Reading Matter
It is not vital that people read anything prior to the presentation, but here are some useful links for those wishing to get ahead of the game:
Steven Novella et al., The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe 57–140 (2018).
Of course, I understand that people might not have access to the above-mentioned book, in which case the following website will suffice (although I commend the book highly in its entirety to anyone interested in how we get at the truth of things).
"Logical Fallacies," The Skeptics Guide to the Universe (last visited Apr. 7, 2019).
Scott Gavura, "Medical Marijuana: Where’s the Evidence?," Science-Based Medicine (Jan. 11, 2018)
Steven Novella, "Marijuana Beliefs Outstrip Evidence," Science-Based Medicine (July 25, 2018)
Salomeh Keyhani, MD, MPH; Stacey Steigerwald, MSSA; Julie Ishida, MD, MAS; Marzieh Vali, MS; Magdalena Cerdá, DrPH; Deborah Hasin, PhD; Camille Dollinger, BS; Sodahm R. Yoo, BS; Beth E. Cohen, MD, MAS, "Risks and Benefits of Marijuana Use: A National Survey of U.S. Adults," American College of Physicians: Annals of Internal Medicine (Sept. 4, 2018)
Peter Grinspoon, "Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t," Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Health Blog (Aug. 24, 2018)
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
The last of four exciting presentations planned this week for my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar concerns the intersection of marijuana use and religion claims. Here is how my student describes her project along with her selected background reading:
Since its founding, religious freedom has remained a core value of the United States. Recently, small groups of individuals have tried to apply this core value to the use of cannabis, specifically with establishing “cannabis churches.” These churches offer congregants a space to come together as a community and consume cannabis as a way to experience a new level of spirituality. Cannabis churches have popped up in both states where recreational consumption is legal (in Colorado, for example) and in states where recreational consumption is illegal (Indiana).
In Colorado, the founders of the International Church of Cannabis have been charged with public consumption. In Indiana, the founder of the First Church of Cannabis asserts that his church is protected under the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. As more cannabis churches are established in other states, the main question that church founders will need to answer is whether the use of cannabis is a sincerely held religious belief deserving of protection.
Monday, April 1, 2019
The title of this post is the title of a presentation to be made by one of my students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar this coming week. Here is part of his explanation of his topic and links to some background reading:
The cannabis industry has been growing rapidly and has become more mainstream. In 2018, New Frontier Data forecasted that the legal U.S. cannabis market ― worth an estimated $8.3 billion in 2017 ― would grow to almost $25 billion by 2025. While many innovators of the cannabis industry are heavily focused on the business activities to get the company off the ground by dealing with cannabis-specific challenges such as marketing, financing, and differentiations. However, it is also critical to evaluate the significance of intellectual property (IP) and the benefits it can provide.
As with any other new ventures, enforcing an IP protection strategy early on can maximize the profits of a new invention and minimize the risk of potential infringement. However, there are some challenges because cannabis (or at least THC) is still illegal under federal law. My paper will focus on elucidating the IP issues and challenges in a budding cannabis industry. Further, I will discuss some factors and complexities to secure IP rights on cannabis-related inventions.
Sunday, March 31, 2019
The second of four student presentation this coming week in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar will focus on federal scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act and the research and market realities impacted by the placement of marijuana in Schedule I. Here is how my student has summarized his topic, along with the background readings he has provided:
The placement of cannabis in Schedule I practically prevents comprehensive and meaningful research into its medical applications and potential harms. The federal government cites cannabis' placement in Schedule I as the reason rigorous research must be conducted before it can be rescheduled, but places restrictions on its research, because of its schedule, that are nearly impossible to overcome. Is there an alternative pathway to federal cannabis legalization, or at least rescheduling, so that more meaningful research can be conducted?
My presentation will examine U.S. drug scheduling, looking at the criteria and examples of substances in each schedule. I will then provide an overview of the FDA research model by which new drugs come to market, contrast it with the type of research conducted on cannabis, and discuss why meaningful, rigorous research into cannabis is so difficult. With this background, I will discuss the findings of a former UK drug-policy adviser that suggests substantial rescheduling is necessary, and how these findings helped initiate research into other Schedule I drugs. Finally, I will provide an overview of research into other Schedule I substances, particularly psychedelics, and how this research may accelerate the rescheduling or federal legalization of cannabis so that its impact on health may be studied more effectively.
March 31, 2019 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (1)
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar are continuing with in-class presentations and continuing to cover diverse subject matter in consistently impressive ways. The first of four presentations scheduled for this coming week will take a foray in to pop culture. Here is how my student has summarized her topic, along with the background readings she has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):
From the jazz musicians in the 40s, the Beat authors in the 50s, rock and roll in the 60s, and rap in the 80s to present, popular culture has slowly changed the public perception of recreational marijuana use and paved the way for legalization. My paper will focus on the influence of hip hop, gangsta rap, and Snoop Dogg on modern legalization efforts and cannabusiness. Dr. Dre's 1992 album "The Chronic" launched Snoop Dogg's career and is commonly regarded as not only the best rap album of all time but one of the best albums in any genre. After featuring heavily on "The Chronic," Snoop Dogg sold over 30 million of his own albums world-wide (46.35% of Snoop’s songs are about marijuana), became a cultural icon inextricably associated with marijuana use, and launched a multitude of business ventures in the legal marijuana space.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
A set of students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar are taking a deep dive into state medical marijuana programs this coming week. Here is how they explain their planned presentation and links to some background reading:
For our presentation, we analyzed each state’s medical marijuana programs to determine ease of accessibility for patients. We studied each state’s medical marijuana program and compared variables such as cost of registration, reciprocity, approved conditions, and many others. Through our research, we discovered that there is wide spectrum of accessibility among the states which have legalized medical marijuana. More specifically, we concluded that the top 5 easiest states to obtain a medical marijuana card are California, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, and Nevada. Additionally, we concluded that the hardest states (among those which have legalized it) to access medical marijuana are Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Utah.
Next, we sought to determine if there was any correlation between the states that had easier/hardest accessibility with when those states ratified and abolished prohibition. Our hypothesis was that the states with the laxer medical marijuana laws would be the ones that repealed prohibition sooner than those with the harsher medical marijuana laws. Generally, we found that that states that ratified the 21st Amendment sooner seemed to have laxer medical marijuana laws and the states with the harsher laws repealed prohibition later on. Also, side note, Oklahoma didn’t even repeal prohibition until 1959!
March 27, 2019 in Assembled readings on specific topics, History of Alcohol Prohibition and Temperance Movements, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Medical Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)
There is so much talk and so many stories about CBD, I know I can barely scratch the surface on this topic. But it seems this past week I have seen an especially notable number of notable stories on this front. Below I provide a partial round-up, and suggested particular attention to the first linked piece for its science and thoughtfulness:
From Politico, "Flood of products containing marijuana extract puts FDA in a bind"
From Rolling Stone, "CBD Expected to Have Explosive Growth In European Union"
From CNN, "Suddenly, CBD is everywhere. Here's what's next"
From NBC News, "CVS to sell CBD products in 800 stores in 8 states"
From CNBC, "Walgreens to sell CBD products in 1,500 stores"
March 27, 2019 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, March 22, 2019
As mentioned in prior posts, my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar is now deep into the student presentation unit, and we will have four presentations each week in coming weeks and thus lots of great student-assembled content here on the blog The first presentation for next week will focus on updating employment policies, and here is how my student has summarized his topic, along with the background readings he has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):
As more states legalize marijuana for medical and recreational uses, the business community must acknowledge that larger portions of the American public will consume marijuana. Consequently, the labor market now includes more marijuana users than ever before. The zero-tolerance drug policies that employers use to discourage marijuana consumption are driving labor shortages throughout corporate America. To remain competitive and recruit the next generation of talented employees, Fortune 500 companies should revise their drug policies to permit off-duty marijuana use. Efforts to reform workplace drug policies should consider the labyrinth of federal and state laws that require certain employers to test for marijuana. Provided that corporate employers include exceptions for these rules, workplace drug policies will remain legally compliant.
Lisa Nagele-Piazza, How Do Recreational Marijuana Laws Affect the Workplace?, Society for Human Resource Management (Jan. 17, 2018).
Roy Maurer, Employers in This State Can’t Reject Job Applicants ‘Solely’ for Smoking Pot, Society For Human Resource Management (February 16, 2018) .
Judy Stone, The Sham Of Drug Testing For Benefits: Walker, Scott And Political Pandering, Forbes (Feb. 17, 2015).
Nelson D. Schwartz, Economy Needs Workers, but Drug Tests Take a Toll, N.Y. Times (July 2017).
Federal Laws and Regulations, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Nov. 2, 2015).
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
The title of this post is the title of a presentation to be made by one of my students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar this coming week. Here is part of her explanation of her topic and links to some background reading:
Native Americans have a tricky and unique history with cannabis. Indians have always used “teaching plants.” And almost every single ceremonial herb used by Indians has been illegal at some point in the United States: salvia, peyote, mullen, mints, and sage. In particular, cannabis is more controversial, given its growing popularity in the United States by non-Natives. Cannabis is considered a sacred herb in many tribes, but not all tribes. For example, the First Nation tribe uses it in rituals, some tribes claim great visionaries used it with their sacred pipes, and other tribes, such as the Dakota and Lakota tribes, state that their medicine men have never used cannabis as a part of their ceremonies.
There has recently been a rise in "cannabis churches,” with the most controversial church, the Oklevueha Native American Church, leading such controversy. The church was founded by James “Flaming Eagle” Mooney. Mooney claims to have native American ancestry, but does not have any official tribal affiliation. The church is comparable to the fundamentalist mormons: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not condone of affiliate itself with fundamentalist mormons, and the National Council of Native American churches released a statement, advising the public that it does not “condone the activities of the illegitimate organization.” This complicates Indian history, as some tribes may wish to use it as a sacrament, and others use the Oklevueha church as a scapegoat and a reason to ban cannabis on its tribes.
U.S. courts have previously ruled that cannabis being used as a religious sacrament does not give tribes the right to use it. Overall, my goal is to: 1) explain the history of peyote, ayahuasca, and cannabis in Native American culture; 2) describe the use, or lack thereof, of cannabis and how it differs from tribe to tribe; 3) describe the rise of “cannabis churches” generally, with a focus on the Oklevueha Native American Church, and the legal troubles they have faced; 4) the legal argument to allow Indian churches to use cannabis as a sacrament or a ritual herb, and the legal argument to prohibit Indian churches from using cannabis as a sacrament or a ritual herb; and 5) the potential implications which it would have on tribes in the future.
- "Recent Articles Concerning Oklevueha"
- Rolling Stone article: "Are Weed Churches Legitimate Houses of Worship, or Just Another Way Around Marijuana Law?"
- Amici curiae brief filed in 2014 in Ninth Circuit case on behalf of by the Native American church groups (generally discussing the controversy over cannabis and the use of peyote by Indian tribes)
Sunday, March 17, 2019
As mentioned in a prior post, the students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar are back from break and back at presentations on their research topics. The second presentation this week will focus on "on Ohio’s employment law future and will draw inferences from other states’ statutory language and case law to predict how discrimination cases may (or may not) proceed." Here is how my student has summarized her topic, along with the background readings she has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):
In Ohio, the law gives employers discretion to accommodate employees' medical marijuana use or not, and has a provision specifically designed to thwart disability claims from proceeding. It is possible that a court could find that failure to accommodate is not per-se unreasonable, and an Ohio court decision could follow the lead of a in Barbuto and Connecticut court in Noffsinger. This interpretation would require that an employee argue that the Americans with Disabilities Act's carve-out for medications should be used to interpret Ohio's Revised Code § 4112.02, creating a carve-out for legal (under state law) marijuana used as medication under the supervision of a medical professional. Due to fairly clear legislative intent to prevent employment discrimination actions for medical marijuana under Revised Code § 3796.28(5), the more likely path in Ohio is probably the way of Colorado in Coats which allowed an employer to fire a disabled employee for failing a baseline Cannabinoid presence test, regardless of his medical status, as violating employer policy.
Here are some additional background resources:
A Survey of Medical Marijuana Laws Impacting the Workplace by Joseph H. Yastrow
Employers and workers grapple with laws allowing marijuana use by G. M. Filisko
Here are resources more specific to my topic:
Ohio’s medical marijuana employment provision: Revised Code § 3796.28(5)
Ohio's disability anti-discrimination regulation under Code § 4112: OAC § 4112-5-08 Discrimination in the employment of the disabled