Monday, August 14, 2023
The title of this post is the title of this updated data analysis now available via SSRN and authored by Jana Hrdinova and Dexter Ridgway with the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. This report builds off a prior effective effort to estimate likely state revenues if Ohio legalizes marijuana, Here is this latest report's abstract:
Advocates for cannabis reform in Ohio and in other states often stress the tax revenue that can be raised through legalization. If a citizen-initiated statute were to reach the November 2023 ballot, Ohio voters are likely to hear from reform advocates about the potential tax revenue a new cannabis industry could bring to the Buckeye State. The purpose of this policy paper is to provide an updated estimate of potential cannabis tax revenue in Ohio that is informed by tax revenue data and trends from a select group of other adult-use states.
Based on our analysis, we are using Michigan FY 2021 data on cannabis tax revenue as our focal point for Ohio cannabis tax revenue estimates given the demographic and tax structure similarities; we are using three different scenarios for rate of diminishing retail sales growth through year five of an operational legal adult-use program; we are using state population figures as our basis for calculating per capita cannabis tax revenue rates; and we are modeling for three different Ohio pricing scenarios. Given these assumptions, the updated potential annual tax revenue from adult-use cannabis in the state of Ohio ranges from $276 million in year five of an operational cannabis market to $403 million in year five of operations.
Saturday, August 5, 2023
I continue to enjoy the timely and informative work being published in the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. The latest paper in this series, by OSU law students and recent graduates on many important and cutting-edge topics, share the title of this post. Specifically, this new paper is authored by Aaron Larson, who is about to start his final year as a student at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Here is its abstract:
An area of the law often forgotten regarding marijuana legalization is the tax and revenue portion of the statutory or constitutional legalization. Each state that has legalized recreational use marijuana generates profit for their state. How much profit are these states making? More importantly, how are the tax revenues being distributed? Many Americans' wonder where their tax money goes. For marijuana revenues, the majority of states divide their tax revenues through a required statutory scheme. While if may be tough to find out where your income tax is divided, marijuana tax revenues are much easier to see, legally.
Saturday, July 29, 2023
"Federalism, Limited Government, and Conservative Outcomes: The Republican Case for Marijuana Legalization"
I continue to be excited to post some the latest papers from the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center in order to highlight great work by OSU law students and recent graduates on many important and cutting-edge topics. The title of this post is the title of this paper authored by Jesse Green, who is about to start his final year as a student at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Here is its abstract:
Marijuana legalization is sweeping the United States by storm. Almost half of the states have legalized recreational marijuana and an overwhelming majority have legalized medical marijuana. However, a partisan divide in both recreational and medical marijuana legalization is present. Democrats tend to be quicker to support legalization, while Republicans tend to be slower to embrace it. And importantly, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level as a Schedule I controlled substance.
This paper lays out the key Republican arguments in favor of marijuana legalization. After detailing the political realities of marijuana legalization in the United States, it addresses the benefits of keeping legalization efforts within the legislative process instead of letting the issue be subject to direct democracy. This paper then concludes by providing specific Republican-supported policies that marijuana legalization can help advance.
July 29, 2023 in Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
As reported in this AP piece, headlined "A campaign to ask Ohio voters to legalize recreational marijuana falls short -- for now," the effort to put marijuana legalization before Ohio voters has hit a small (and surmountable) bump. Here are the details:
A proposal to legalize adult use of marijuana in Ohio narrowly fell short Tuesday of the signatures it needed to make the fall statewide ballot. Backers will have 10 days, or until Aug. 4, to gather more.
Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose determined the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol was short by just 679 signatures of the 124,046 signatures required to put the question before voters on Nov. 7.
Tom Haren, a coalition spokesperson, said he was confident the group could find the signatures by the Aug. 4 deadline. “It looks like we came up a little short in this first phase, but now we have 10 days to find just 679 voters to sign a supplemental petition — this is going to be easy, because a majority of Ohioans support our proposal to regulate and tax adult use marijuana,” Haren said in a statement.
If the initiative makes the November ballot, a simple majority vote is required for it to pass.... The ballot measure proposes allowing adults 21 and over to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and to grow plants at home. A 10% tax would support administrative costs, addiction treatment, municipalities with dispensaries and social equity and jobs programs.
If the issue passes, Ohio would become the 24th state to legalize cannabis for adult use. The outcome of a special election Aug. 8 on whether to raise the bar for passing future constitutional amendments wouldn’t impact the marijuana question, since it was advanced through the citizen initiated statute process.
Tuesday, July 25, 2023
"Teaching Drugs: Incorporating Drug Policy into Law School Curriculum, 2022–2023 Cannabis Curriculum Survey Update"
The title of this post is the title of this latest effort by researchers at Ohio State's Drug Enforcement and Policy Center to keep track of the number of law schools teaching marijuana-related classes. Specifically, Jonathan Abele and Jana Hrdinova have put together this latest interesting accounting, and here its the work's abstract:
The landscape of cannabis prohibition has changed dramatically in the last decade. These shifting attitudes towards cannabis are reflected in the continued wave of states legalizing cannabis for medical or adult-use and in President Biden’s call for a review of cannabis’s classification as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. These new regimes present a complex legal environment for businesses and legal professionals given the individualized character of each state’s program and long-standing federal prohibition.
Yet, only a relatively small number of law schools appear to have addressed this challenging and ever-shifting legal area by offering courses on cannabis law and policy. This report is the result of the fifth annual survey of law school curriculum focusing on courses on cannabis law offered by accredited law schools in the United States. The survey shows a slow but steady increase in the number of law schools offering courses on cannabis law, including law schools located in states that have legalized adult-use cannabis.
Monday, July 17, 2023
Because I live and work in central Ohio, I certainly pay attention to Ohio political developments more than others. But, assuming two new initiatives qualify for state ballot in 2023 (which we should know soon), I suspect lots of folks around the country will be paying more attention Buckeye State politics. Specifically, two high-profile topics --- full legalization of marijuana and abortion rights --- could come before Ohio voters this November. That possibility prompts the question in the title of this post and also the question in this new local article headlined: "How will two hot-button ballot initiatives impact Ohio’s November turnout?"
The local piece mostly discusses turn-out issues generally; I am also especially wondering how having an abortion initiative at the same time as a marijuana initiative may impact not only voter turn-out, but also the advertising budgets and advocacy efforts by backers and opponents of both initiatives. Here is a segment of the press piece covering just some of the issues a unique off-year Ohio election might raise:
Heading into this year’s election season, Ohio voters could wind up voting on two hot button issues at the same time. Election officials are currently combing through petitions for an abortion rights amendment and a recreational marijuana statute that could both go before voters in November.
Received wisdom holds that those hot button ballot issues are good way to juice turnout. Political science literature confirms that to a certain extent, that’s true. But what happens when two show up at once?...
Ohio State University political scientist Vladimir Kogan [has research showing] turnout in an average Ohio school district during a presidential election was about 62% of the 2010 voting age population. In a midterm, turnout dropped by 15 points and in odd year election it fell another 8 points. Even with abortion and marijuana initiatives boosting awareness, he explained, that’s a lot of ground to make up.
And Kogan argued the nature of the electorate in odd-year elections could present a challenge for an initiative’s backers, too. “The important thing is not the overall turnout but who’s voting,” Kogan said, “and again we know that not only this turnout overall quite different off-cycle but particularly the age profile. Really, it’s a much, much older electorate that votes in these lower turnout elections.”
“Probably not the target demographic for people that are trying to legalize marijuana,” he added.... In terms of how the two issues might interact with one another, [University of North Florida political scientist Mike] Binder and Kogan dismiss the idea that they might amplify or cancel one another out. Binder allowed that there are likely voters who would favor one issue and oppose the other, but probably not many. Instead, he described the two issues’ appeal like a Venn diagram — not a complete overlap, but a pretty significant one.
Notably, Ohio votes are already going to the polls — I voted last week — to weigh in on a special election concerning whether to raise the support threshold for constitutional amendments to require future amendments to surpass 60% for adoption. That initiative, which was put on the ballot by Ohio's General Assembly, would impact the Ohio abortion initiative (which is a proposed constitutional amendment), but note the marijuana initiative (which proposes only statutory changes).
My sense is that the marijuana reform initiative may ultimately benefit in various ways from the abortion initiative garnering much attention. For starters, I suspect overall turnout will be higher, especially among younger and more left-leaning voters. Also, I suspect many elected Ohio leaders will likely be more focused on speaking out against the abortion initiative rather than the marijuana initiative (same for likely campaign contributors). There may also be the broader benefit of more public polling on this topics before the vote and also a richer understanding of political trends and coalitions around these issues after the vote. Interesting times.
July 17, 2023 in Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Initiative reforms in states, Political perspective on reforms, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)
Saturday, July 8, 2023
I am excited to continue to be able to post the latest papers from the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. In so doing, it is such a pleasure to get to review and highlight great work by OSU law students and recent graduates on so many important and cutting-edge topics. The title of this post is the title of this paper authored by Mac Patrick who is a student at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Here is its abstract:
Cannabis legalization continues to be placed on the ballot. One way in which the legislation is passed is through voter initiatives and public referendums, whereby voters can use their voices to directly enact popular legislation. Yet, those voices have been silenced by the use of political manipulation to keep cannabis off the ballot or to invalidate laws once passed. This type of political manipulation has been utilized since cannabis legislation was first introduced and the consequences are long-standing. This paper explores the history of direct democracy, which states have experienced this democratic crisis, how a reduction in popular democracy may further damage the state and federal governments’ relationships with its constituents, and what solutions may be possible.
Saturday, July 1, 2023
The title of this post is the title of this new Forbes commentary by Will Yakowicz that provides an astute review of justice some of the reasons not to be very bullish about federal cannabis reform. I recommend the piece in full, and here are a few excerpts:
Marijuana is still illegal federally for a very simple reason. “Politicians just don't really care,” says Paul Armentano, the deputy director of nonprofit legalization advocacy group NORML. “It's just not on their priority list. If it were, they would address it. They don't because it isn't. It’s simple stuff.”
Over the last 30 years, 23 states have legalized recreational use and 38 now allow some form of medical marijuana, but the Senate has never held a single vote on legislation to decriminalize — or legalize — cannabis, despite the fact that some 88% of the American public believe it should be legal.
As for President Biden’s request for HHS to review marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I narcotic, Armentano says he’s been through multiple re-scheduling petitions, which have all been denied by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA has final approval over any rescheduling petition.
It gets more bureaucratically tangled from there. One of the key benchmarks marijuana must pass is whether it has recognized medical use in the United States. The only acceptable definition of medical utility in the U.S., according to the federal government, is approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “That's the federal government's position: no medical utility absent FDA approval,” Armentano says. “There's not going to be FDA approval of cannabis, at least not botanical raw plant cannabis.”
Friday, June 23, 2023
"Collisions and cannabis: Measuring the effect of recreational marijuana legalization on traffic crashes in Washington State"
The title of this post is the title of this notable new research authored by Annie Voy and just published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention. Here is its abstract:
Washington State was among the first states in the US to legalize recreational consumption and retail sales of marijuana. Recreational use of cannabis was legalized December 6, 2012, following the passage of Initiative 502 30 days prior. Roughly 19 months later the first retail cannabis stores opened their doors for public sales (“commercialization”). I measure the impact of cannabis legalization and commercialization on traffic collisions in Washington State.
With county-level vehicle crash data from the Washington State Department of Transportation collected monthly, I utilize an interrupted time-series framework with Poisson estimation to compare traffic collisions with recreational retail cannabis sales revenue from 2011 (three years pre-commercialization) through 2017 (three years post-commercialization). First, I measure the shift in collisions brought about by Washington’s 2012 cannabis legalization. Then, I compare retail cannabis sales — a measure of commercialization — to traffic collisions based on severity of injury (fatal, severe injury, minor injury, non-injury, and all).
After controlling for confounding factors, evidence suggests that recreational cannabis legalization led to fewer fatal and serious injury collisions. Retail cannabis sales generally correlate with more traffic collisions, particularly for less severe (minor injury) crashes. These findings are robust to the inclusion of additional control variables pertaining to county-level cannabis usage and driving behavior while intoxicated.
Cannabis legalization led to fewer fatal, serious, and minor injury collisions. Commercialization (cannabis sales) correlated with an increase in less severe crashes. Although cannabis use generally increased in Washington State following legalization/commercialization, survey data suggest that driving behavior while under the influence of cannabis did not change significantly over the post-commercialization period. Future research should focus on measuring the dose-dependent impact of cannabis consumption on traffic collisions. This should include recognition of the importance of cannabis dosing, timing, and route of consumption. Lastly, the dangers of poly-drug driving — particularly cannabis and alcohol — are well established and should be high priority for further research.
Tuesday, June 13, 2023
I am pleased to spotlight another great Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) event that is part of our summer 2023 Cannabis Regulatory Deep Dive. This event is scheduled for June 22 at 12noon and is titled "Changes in Federal Approaches to Cannabis: Process and Impact" This is how this event is described at this website (where you can register):
In 1971, marijuana was designated as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it “has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.” After decades-long efforts by advocates and researchers, President Biden announced in October 2022 that he instructed “the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.” In January 2023, the FDA issued a statement saying that a new regulatory pathway for CBD is needed that balances individuals’ desire for access to CBD products with the regulatory oversight required to manage risks. Although these actions illustrate that the federal government is shifting its approach on cannabis, the mechanics of the scheduling review and the implications of such shift are not well understood.
Please join the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center and a panel of experts as they discuss the role of other federal agencies in the scheduling review process and the legal implications of marijuana’s status as a controlled substance and the potential impact of rescheduling marijuana or descheduling it entirely. This panel will consider impacts on criminalization, research, medical access, and the medical and adult use cannabis industries currently regulated by states.
Cat Packer, Director of Drug Markets and Legal Regulation, Drug Policy Alliance
John Hudak, Director of the Maine Office of Cannabis Policy
Robert Mikos, LaRoche Family Chair in Law, Vanderbilt University Law School
Khurshid Khoja, Principal, Greenbridge Corporate Counsel
Fatima Afia, Attorney, Rudick Law Group, PLLC,
Shane Pennington, Partner, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP
Patricia Zettler, Associate Professor of Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
As federal marijuana reform remains stalled, new coalition formed to advocate for rescheduling under CSA
As many of my students should recall, I have long stressed in many of my marijuana classes that a complicating question in the debates over possible federal reforms concerns whether advocates should prioritize rescheduling or descheduling of marijuana under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Most reform advocates certainly have a clear preference for removing marijuana entirely from the CSA (descheduling), which would mean marijuana is treated the same legally as alcohol and tobacco. But rescheduling marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III or lower would seem to be more politically viable in the short term and would at least soften some of the legal problems created by the current conflict between state marijuana reforms and the drug's federal status.
Though the rescheduling versus descheduling debate has been long simmering, it has gotten some renewed energy since Prez Biden in October 2022 directed his Administration to review the Schedule I status of marijuana under the CSA. In addition, with Republicans in control of the US House of Representatives and perhaps poised to take back control of the US Senate in 2024, robust descheduling marijuana reforms from Congress may not be a realistic possibility for many years to come. Consequently, it perhaps make sense that folks still eager for descheduling would, at least in the short term, now be open to supporting rescheduling.
Against this backdrop, it is not to surprising to see this news from Marijuana Moment under the headline "New Coalition Of Major Marijuana Groups Launches Push For Scheduling Reform, Even If It Falls Short of Legalization." I recommend this lengthy piece in full, as it effectively highlights various aspect of the rescheduling versus descheduling debate. And here is how the story starts:
As federal agencies work to complete a marijuana scheduling review at the president’s direction, a new coalition of major cannabis companies and advocacy organizations has launched, aiming to advance the conversation in a way that embraces the potential benefits of an incremental rescheduling move even as they push for broader legalization.
The Coalition for Cannabis Scheduling Reform (CCSR), which detailed its plans exclusively to Marijuana Moment ahead of an official launch on Tuesday, will be working with advocates, stakeholders, lawmakers and administration officials to promote education about the need to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Unlike other leading advocacy groups focused on full descheduling and legalization, however, its members are also united around the idea that moving cannabis to Schedules III, IV or V of the CSA would represent “historic progress” that shouldn’t be discounted.
But while there’s general agreement that such a move would resolve key federal tax issues for the industry and ease research restrictions, some advocates have cautioned against anything short of complete removal of marijuana from the CSA, insisting that a mere rescheduling would effectively capsize existing state markets and give way to further big business control of the industry.
Friday, June 2, 2023
The title of this post is the headline of this interesting new Missouri Independent article that shows everyone where marijuana revenue is going in the Show Me State. Here are excerpts:
Since Missouri’s marijuana sales began in 2019, the state has collected nearly $100 million in revenue from taxes and program fees, according to state authorities. Etched in the state’s constitution is a road map for where the revenue can go.
The first stop is operational costs. By law, any expense it takes to run both medical and recreational marijuana programs — like salaries or professional services — all must be paid for through marijuana revenues. That means the salaries for cannabis inspectors will never compete with that of school teachers, which come out of the state’s main pot of money, the general revenue fund. The agency that regulates the program, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, told the Independent last week that their expenses have been $38.4 million to date....
After expenses, the revenue can go towards supporting veterans, funding drug addiction treatment programs and adding to the Missouri Public Defenders System’s budget.... As of April 30, there was $22.7 million in the state’s medical marijuana fund and $10.9 million in the recreational marijuana fund, according to the state treasurer’s records and DHSS.
Medical marijuana first went on the market in 2019. Since then, the medical marijuana program has brought in $85.2 million in total — $57.7 million has come from fees, including for new license applications and annual license fees, according to DHSS. And $27.4 million has come from sales tax revenue.
The constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana in 2018, which appeared on the ballot as Amendment 2, mandated that revenues after operational expenses go towards the Missouri Veterans Commission. So far, $27 million has gone to support veterans....
The revenue road map is a bit different for the adult-use recreational marijuana program, and it’s defined in Amendment 3 that was approved by voters in November. By law, direct revenues first go towards operational costs and then to expenses incurred by the court system for expunging certain marijuana offenses from people’s criminal records. After that, revenues will be split in three ways: Public defenders, drug addiction treatment and veterans.
Since recreational marijuana sales opened in February, the revenue collected is already at $13.8 million, and almost all is from sales taxes, according to DHSS. Marijuana monthly sales in Missouri have tripled since February, but so has the workload for DHSS. For the past two years, DHSS has had 50 full-time employees to regulate the medical marijuana program. The total employees will now be just over 170 employees — 23 for medical marijuana and 148 for recreational, Cox told The Independent.
Between the medical and recreational program, lawmakers appropriated about $32 million for operational expenses. That’s a little more than double what it’s appropriated in past years. However, DHSS has yet to ever use the full appropriated amount, though there was plenty in the fund to cover it, according to budget documents. In the fiscal year 2020, lawmakers appropriated $13.5 million for DHSS’ personal services, expenses and equipment. But the department only spent $6.3 million. In fiscal year 2021, DHSS was appropriated $13.5 million and spent $9.4 million. In fiscal year 2022, DHSS was appropriated $13.8 million and spent $8.4 million....
This year lawmakers signed off on $4.5 million for state courts to pay their employees overtime or to hire temp workers to complete the massive number of expungements required by law. They approved an additional $2.5 million in a supplemental budget on May 5. After that, $1.3 million was appropriated for each public defenders, treatment programs and veterans. And out of the medical revenues, $13 million will go towards the Veterans Commission again this year, as it did last year.
Sunday, May 21, 2023
As reported in this Fox News piece, "The Minnesota Senate passed a measure to legalize recreational marijuana in the state for adults ages 21 and older. The measure, approved early Saturday morning, will now head to Democrat Gov. Tim Walz's desk for signature. He is expected to sign the bill into law." Here are some of the particulars:
Starting August 1, the bill would allow people 21 and older to carry up to 2 ounces of marijuana in public and possess up to 2 pounds at home. These adults could also grow home plants. But possessing more than those limits or selling the product without a state license could result in criminal penalties and civil fines....
Minnesota would become the 23rd state, plus Washington, D.C., to legalize recreational marijuana.
The legislation was approved by the state Senate in a party-line vote, with all Democrats voting in favor. The state House passed the bill Thursday night with five Republicans joining all but one Democrat in approving the measure.... The House had approved the bill in recent years, but the effort was stalled by a Republican-led Senate. That changed this year when Democrats took control of the chamber.
The bill would also automatically expunge low-level cannabis convictions and set up a board to consider expungement or resentencing of felony crimes. "Starting right away, we will begin the process of expunging tens of thousands of cannabis convictions," House bill sponsor Rep. Zack Stephenson said on Twitter. "But it took 50 years to create all those convictions, and it will take months, even years, to complete this process."
Newly regulated dispensaries, once operational, will be permitted for cultivation, manufacturing and lawful sale of cannabis products, depending on the licenses they are approved for. There will be a 10% gross receipts tax on the products, in addition to existing local and state general sales taxes. Stephenson said in his tweet that he expects it to take up to 18 months before licensed dispensaries would be available to shop in as a new state agency works to set up the legal market.
Thursday, May 18, 2023
"An Equity Action Plan for Marijuana: The Biden Administration’s Opportunity to Advance Equity Through Cannabis Reform"
The title of this post is the title of this notable new paper authored by Cat Packer now available via SSRN. (Note: Cat is my former student and also is now serving as a Distinguished Cannabis Policy Practitioner in Residence with the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at the The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.) Here is its abstract:
This paper examines the Biden Administration’s executive orders on equity, its position on marijuana reform before and after President Biden’s related October 2022 statement, and it's repeated statements acknowledging both cannabis criminalization’s disproportionate impact on Black and Latino communities and marijuana reform as an opportunity to advance equity. Moreover, this paper critiques the omission of marijuana reform within the Biden Administration’s Equity Action Plans and highlights the opportunity for the Biden Administration to use its existing executive orders on equity as a framework to understand and address how marijuana laws and policies create barriers for underserved communities through the development of an equity action plan for marijuana reform.
May 18, 2023 in Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, Political perspective on reforms, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
The title of this post is the title of this new original research authored by multiple researchers and just published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics. Here is its abstract:
Objective: To examine whether timing of in utero marijuana exposure independently and negatively impacts fetal growth, and if these effects are global or specific to certain growth parameters.
Study design: The two study groups were marijuana users (N = 109) and a randomly selected control group of biochemically verified non-users (n = 171). Study data were obtained via manual abstraction of electronic medical records.
Results: After control for significant confounders, regression results indicated significant (p < .05) decrease in newborn weight following first trimester marijuana exposure only (−154 g) and following marijuana exposure throughout gestation (−185 g) compared to controls. There were also significant deficits in head circumference following marijuana exposure in the first and second trimester only (−.83 cm) and marijuana exposure throughout pregnancy (−.79 cm) compared to controls. Newborn length was not significantly predicted by marijuana exposure.
Conclusions: Timing of marijuana exposure appears to play a key role in specific fetal growth deficits, with exposure throughout gestation most detrimental. However even first trimester exposure may result in decreased weight. Timing and amount of use could be confounded in this study as those who quit early in pregnancy may have been lighter users than those who continued throughout pregnancy. More research is clearly needed to better understand the role of amount and timing of in utero marijuana exposure in predicting different aspects of fetal growth, however, this study suggests that women should be encouraged to avoid marijuana use at any point in pregnancy.
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
The title of this post is the title of this notable new article in the Journal of Health Economics from multiple authors. Apparently the answer to the question in the title of the article is "no," and here is the article's abstract:
Public health experts caution that legalization of recreational marijuana may normalize smoking and undermine the decades-long achievements of tobacco control policy. However, very little is known about the impact of recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) on adult tobacco use. Using newly available data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) and dynamic difference-in-differences and discrete-time hazard approaches, we find that RML adoption increases prior-month marijuana use among adults ages 18-and-older by 2-percentage-points, driven by an increase in marijuana initiation among prior non-users. However, this increase in adult marijuana use does not extend to tobacco use. Rather, we find that RML adoption is associated with a lagged reduction in electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) use, consistent with the hypothesis that ENDS and marijuana are substitutes. Moreover, auxiliary analyses from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that RML adoption is associated with a reduction in adult cigarette smoking. We conclude that RMLs may generate tobacco-related health benefits.
Monday, May 15, 2023
I was pleased to see that NACDL’s Cannabis Justice Initiative has planned this free online event titled "Marijuana Justice as Social Justice." Here are the basics of the event from the program page:
"Marijuana Justice as Social Justice" will be a conversation between The Honorable Randall Woodfin, Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, and Jason D. Williamson, Attorney, Racial Justice Advocate, and Executive Director of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law. The event will be moderated by Eric J. Davis, the Felony Trial Division Chief of the Harris County Public Defender's Office in Texas.
While people across the country enjoy regulated and taxed cannabis products, thousands of people, mostly from black and brown communities, continue to suffer in prison for conduct that has been legalized in 21 states and counting. Please join us for a conversation concerning the fight for marijuana justice for those most affected by unjust marijuana criminalization, and two advocates' fight to change these laws and right the wrongs of racially discriminatory marijuana arrests, convictions, and sentences.
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Gearing up for US Senate hearing on "Examining Cannabis Banking Challenges of Small Businesses and Workers"
As detailed at this official site, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs has a hearing scheduled for tomorrow morning titled "Examining Cannabis Banking Challenges of Small Businesses and Workers." Among the topics to be discussed is surely to be the SAFE Banking Act, and there are scheduled witnesses who will be supportive and who will be oppositional to this bill. Here are the listed witnesses:
The witnesses on Panel I will be:
- The Honorable Jeff Merkley, United States Senator (D-OR); and
- The Honorable Steve Daines, United States Senator, (R-MT).
The witnesses on Panel II will be:
- Mr. Ademola Oyefeso, International Vice President and Director of Legislative and Political Action Department, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW);
- Ms. Michelle Sullivan, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, Dama Financial;
- Dr. Kevin Sabet, PhD., President and CEO, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, and Fellow, Yale University; and
- Ms. Cat Packer, Vice Chair, Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition.
Some witness written tesimony is already available at the hearing website.
As is so often the case, the folks at Marijuana Moment hav lots of coverage on this topc, and here are links to some of its relevant pieces:
- "Key Senate Committee Officially Schedules Hearing On Marijuana Banking Bill For Next Week"
- "Schumer Says Marijuana Banking Bill Will Go To Senate Floor — With Expungements And ‘Social Justice’ Attached — At NYC Cannabis Rally"
- "American Bankers Association Calls For ‘Swift Passage’ Of Marijuana Banking Bill Ahead Of Senate Committee Hearing"
- "Senate Committee Adds New Witnesses For Marijuana Banking Hearing This Week"
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
As a follow-up to new research (to be discussed in a future post) concerning marijuana enforcement by district attorneys in states that still prohibit recreational marijuana use, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at The Ohio State University and the Prosecutors and Politics Project at UNC School of Law is hosting on May 17, 2023, a conversation with a panel of legal experts and academics. You can register for the online event here, and this event page provides some backgrouns along with the scheduled panelists:
Over the last decade, a large number of states have adopted various forms of marijuana reform. To date, 21 states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes and 38 have legalized medical marijuana use. While public opinion polls suggest that the vast majority of people support marijuana legalization, less is known about the opinions and policies of prosecuting attorneys in states that have not yet legalized marijuana for any purpose.
Amy Ullrick, Project Manager, Prosecutors and Politics Project, University of North Carolina
Sam Kamin, Professor, Chauncey G. Wilson Memorial Research Chair, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Zachary Price, Eucalyptus Foundation Endowed Chair, University of California College of the Law, San Francisco
Lauren Ouizel, Professor of Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law
Carissa Byrne Hessick, Anne Shea Ransdell and William Garland "Buck" Ransdell, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina
New MPP report calculates states have collected over $15 billion in tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales by end of 2022
Via this Marijuana Moment article, I see that the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has a new report detailing that, from 2014 to 2022, states that have legalized adult-use recreational marijuana sales have together generated more than $15 billion in tax revenue from marijuana sales. This MPP report, titled "Cannabis Tax Revenue in States that Regulate Cannabis for Adult Use," gets started this way:
Legalizing cannabis for adults has been a wise investment. Since 2014 when sales began in Colorado and Washington, legalization policies have provided states a new revenue stream to bolster budgets and fund important services and programs. Through the end of 2022, states have reported a combined total of more than $15 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use cannabis sales. In 2022, legalization states generated more than $3.77 billion in cannabis tax revenue from adult-use sales. In addition to revenue generated for statewide budgets, cities and towns have also generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue from local adult-use cannabis taxes.
Twenty-two states have legalized cannabis possession for adults 21 and older. All but two of them — Maryland and Virginia — have also legalized, regulated, and taxed cannabis sales, and Maryland’s governor plans to sign twin bills that are on his desk to do so.
Although cannabis sales have continued to generate billions in annual tax revenue, 2022 marked the first year with a decrease in tax revenues compared to the prior year. Even as new states came online, we saw a slight decrease in total state cannabis tax revenue — from over $3.86 billion in 2021 compared to $3.77 billion in 2022. Prior to 2022, every legalization state had seen annual increases in cannabis tax revenue. In 2022, however, six states with the most mature legalization laws experienced decreases in cannabis tax revenue, while newer legalization states generated more cannabis tax revenue in 2022 than in 2021.
Reasons for declining tax revenue include the widespread availability of intoxicating synthetic cannabinoids made from hemp, which are largely unregulated and not subjected to cannabis excise taxes; lower prices in several states due to oversupply; sales beginning in additional states — reducing demand from visitors in more mature states; consumers having less disposable income due to inflation; and — in California — the state reducing the tax rate to make legal cannabis more competitive. Cannabis businesses also face significant challenges due to ongoing federal prohibition, which drives up costs of rent, banking, and almost everything else, and results in an enormous federal tax burden. Those burdens do not apply to intoxicating cannabinoids derived from hemp.
As Vicente LLP Director of Economics and Research Andrew Livingston explained, 2022’s revenue decreases were “due to a multitude of factors,” and that one of them is likely COVID-related. “While 2022 cannabis taxes are lower in some established markets than they were in 2021, it's important to know how COVID-19 and pandemic initiated lockdown orders increased cannabis demand. People could not spend their money going to concerts, going out to dinner, or vacation travel. So many people increased their consumption of consumer packaged goods. Cannabis was a product that could still be purchased and made the difficulty of staying at home for months on end watching TV shows and movies a bit more enjoyable.”
In every state where cannabis tax revenue decreased in 2022, tax proceeds still outperformed every year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdowns.
This document reviews each legalization state’s adult-use cannabis tax structure, population, and year-by-year adult-use cannabis tax revenue. States are listed in chronological order, based on when state-legal cannabis sales began, with the most mature markets first. These figures include cannabis excise taxes and states’ standard sales taxes that applied to cannabis. They do not include medical cannabis tax revenue, application and licensing fees paid by cannabis businesses, additional income taxes generated by workers in the cannabis industry, or taxes paid to the federal government.