Sunday, April 7, 2024

Student presentation examines "Social Equity Programs: A Form of Reparations?"

Picture1I never think of marijuana reform, or my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar, as involving a niche subject matter  because so many aspects of the topic tap into broader issues and concerns throughout modern society.  And the fourth student presentation slated for  this week is on the kind of topic that connects a marijuana policy debate to a much larger set of concerns.  Here is how my student describes her topic (along with some background reading):

In 2014, Ta-Nehisi Coates published The Case for Reparations, calling out the lack of compensation to newly freed Black people following the Emancipation Proclamation. The article describes systematic barriers to racial equality throughout history, reviewing how discriminatory housing policies have contributed to cycles of generational poverty for Black Americans.  In 2021, the PEW Research Center found the typical white household had 9.2 times as much wealth as the typical Black household.  The Case for Reparations demonstrates these vast inequalities are due to long-term systematic racism and suggests various forms of compensation to repair the harm to African Americans. 

Using this framework of reparations, my presentation will analyze the role of social equity licensure programs in the cannabis industry.  If managed with efficacy, these programs can provide a piece of financial reparations for African Americans.  Many minoritized groups have been disparately impacted by marijuana criminalization, including communities of color, Indigenous people, and Queer communities, to name a few. This presentation will center the perspective of Black communities, tracing the harm from 17th-century Antebellum slavery to today’s marijuana legalization landscape.

Ohio’s Issue 2 enacted a Social Equity and Jobs Fund, which will allocate funds to diversify industry participation, invest in communities disparately impacted by marijuana laws, and provide criminal justice reform.  Are state cannabis licensures reigniting a national conversation of reparations?  Do these programs inspire the conversation of reparations in policy areas outside of marijuana?  Analyzing programs in Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan, this presentation explores the shortcomings and challenges of social equity programs, and potential paths forward to create reparations for African American communities.

Recommended Reading:

Coates, Ta-Nehisi, The Case for Reparations, The Atlantic. (June 2014).

Eva McKend, Hemp Roots: The History of Hemp in Kentucky, Spectrum News 1 (Oct. 2, 2019).

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

Katherine Hendy, Amanda Mauri, & Melissa Creary, Bounded Equity: The Limits of Economic Models of Social Justice in Cannabis Legislation. Contemp Drug Probl. (Jan. 13, 2023).

Rakesh Kochhar & Mohamad Moslimani, Wealth Surged in the Pandemic, but Debt Endures for Poorer Black and Hispanic Families, PEW Rsch. Ctr. (Dec. 4, 2023).

April 7, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Race, Gender and Class Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 18, 2024

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

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

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

Backround:

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 1, 2024

"Mapping Cannabis Social Equity: Understanding How Ohio Compares to Other States' Post-Legalization Policies to Redress Past Harms"

AdobeStock_233601824The title of this post is the title of this terrific new report now available via SSRN and authored by Jana Hrdinova and Dexter Ridgway with the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. This report was inspired by an on-going polict debate in Ohio after voters in the state approved in Fall 2023 a statutory ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. This report should be of interest to folks outside as well as inside of Ohio because it provides a national landscape on varying social equity issues in marijuana legalization states. Here is the report's abstract:

On November 7, 2023, Ohio became the 24th state in the nation to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. Following the lead of other states, the Ohio ballot initiative included social equity provisions designed to address past harm of marijuana criminalization by investing in disproportionately impacted communities and encouraging participation of such groups in the new legal cannabis industry. The purpose of this report is to highlight the varying strategies other states have deployed to fulfill social equity goals and to look at how Ohio’s new laws compare to others. In this report, we look at three social equity policy areas in greater detail, starting with criminal justice reform, followed by community reinvestment, and industry participation. Additionally, we also provide detailed information on the criteria states have used to determine individual and community eligibility for participating in their social equity programs. We conclude the report with recommendations for greater data collection and analyses concerning the impact of social equity efforts and a more robust assessment of best practices for social equity programs.

February 1, 2024 in Criminal justice developments and reforms, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 7, 2023

"The Social Equity Paradigm: The Quest for Justice in Cannabis Legalization"

The title of this post is the title of this new article authored by William Garriott and Jose Garcia-Fuerte now available via SSRN. Here is its abstract:

Today, many states have adopted a commercial-based approach to cannabis legalization which reflects the market for alcohol to govern the production, distribution, and consumption of the cannabis plant and its derivatives.  As a result, legalization has prioritized economic benefits and structures over justice concerns that would dismantle the old infrastructure of prohibition. This continues to shape the way legalization is unfolding across the United States.

One impact of this market-based approach is the push for social equity within the cannabis industry.  Though poor people and people of color have disproportionately suffered under prohibition, it is those least likely to have been targeted — wealthy and/or white people — that have disproportionately benefited from legalization.

To change this dynamic, social equity advocated have argued for a suite of policies that we term “the social equity paradigm.”  These policies are multifaceted and take various forms, but focus on three priorities: (1) increasing access to the industry, (2) addressing criminal records, and (3) re-investing cannabis tax revenues into disproportionately impacted communities.  All three priorities reflect the shortcomings of the market-based legalization model. They also reflect the principle of equity, which in this context simply means that those disproportionately harmed by prohibition should receive disproportionate benefit under legalization.

This article surveys the social equity paradigm across the country, and discusses the many legal, political, and social challenges confronting the paradigm that may require a shift in the approach to social equity.  The article provides recommendations for how the principles of the social equity paradigm can be sustained while avoiding the challenges that seek to undermine it.

December 7, 2023 in Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Employment and labor law issues, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)

Monday, May 15, 2023

NACDL event this week on "Marijuana Justice as Social Justice"

Marijuana-Justice_04-21-2023_123_HeroI 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. 

May 15, 2023 in Criminal justice developments and reforms, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)

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.

Ohio CPS Intra-Familial Assessment form

Ohio Child Welfare Data Portal

Sylia Wilson & Soo Hyun Rhee, "Causal Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Parents, Parenting, and Children: A Systematic Review," Preventive Medicine, Volume 156 (March 2022).

March 20, 2023 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Race, Gender and Class Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 13, 2023

"Building Solidarity in Support of Immigrants’ Rights in the Evolving Marijuana Legislative Landscape"

As I have mentioned before, after a very busy Fall semester, I am catching up on the posting of some recently produced papers that are part of the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.   And now I have just started teaching a new semester of my marijuana seminar, it is especially enjoyable to be able to highlight some of the great work that was done by students in my last class.   The title of this post is the title of this paper authored by Charlotte Kalfas who was in my marijuaan seminar last year and who now completing her 3L year at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.  Here is the abstract of her paper: 

This paper attempts to raise the profile of and build solidarity among disparate groups on the issue of considering how immigration law should be amended or enforced in the wake of the move towards legalization, whether on a state-by-state or federal level.  It goes into detail on perspectives and policy rationales for amending the INA to remove marijuana from disparate political perspectives -- those who are already committed to immigrants' rights, those who are already committed to marijuana legalization, and those who are less amenable to either.

For the first group, it's fairly self-explanatory: marijuana use is a deportable offense for immigrants whether or not it is legal, which makes little sense in the era of marijuana reform.  For legalization supporters, I focus on economic developments and social justice.  Allowing immigrants into the group of people who could purchase and use marijuana would both bring more revenue into the market and create a new group of folks who could work in both agricultural and retail ends of the business.  Further, given the divisive history of the connections between marijuana criminalization and immigration, noncitizens should be a key consideration in legalization legislation and regulation just as social equity programs are now for women and other minoritized people. Finally, for those who aren't familiar or amiable to either perspective, the paper dives into arguments about justice and fairness from a legal perspective, and the assertion that supporting minoritized individuals such as immigrants and people of color is beneficial for all members of the U.S.

January 13, 2023 in Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Political perspective on reforms, Race, Gender and Class Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Notable new Gallup polling on marijuana attitudes and use

Americans-marijuana-useThe folks at Gallup are reporting here some intriguing new polling data under the headline "Americans Not Convinced Marijuana Benefits Society." Here is part of the write up of the results of new Gallup polling:

Americans are evenly split in their views about marijuana's effect on society, with 49% considering it positive and 50% negative. They are slightly more positive about the drug's effect on people who use it, with 53% saying it's positive and 45% negative.

People's own experience with marijuana is highly related to their views on both questions. Large majorities of adults who say they have ever tried marijuana -- which is nearly half of Americans -- think marijuana's effects on users (70%) and society at large (66%) are positive.  Conversely, the majority of those who have never tried marijuana think its effects are negative: 72% say this about its effect on society and 62% about its effect on users....

Also, although Americans have not reached a consensus on whether marijuana benefits people or society, they see it far more positively than they do alcohol. As Gallup reported previously, the same poll finds three in four adults believing alcohol negatively affects society, and 71% think it is harmful to drinkers.  These results are from Gallup's July 5-26 Consumption survey, conducted annually each July....

Here are the current demographic patterns for all three marijuana-related behaviors.

Gender: Men are more likely than women to say they have ever tried marijuana, but the two genders are similar in their self-reports of smoking marijuana and consuming marijuana edibles.

Age: The highest usage rates are reported by adults 18 to 34, with 30% of this group saying they smoke marijuana and 22% consuming edibles. These figures drop to 16% each for adults 35 to 54 and 7% each for those 55 and older.

Education: Unlike the strong educational relationship seen with tobacco, education is not a great discriminator in people's use of marijuana. Those with a college degree are about as likely as those with no college education to have ever tried it or to use it currently.

Party: Democrats and independents report similar levels of marijuana use, while Republicans are less likely to smoke or eat it. They are also less likely to have ever tried it.

August 16, 2022 in Polling data and results, Race, Gender and Class Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 25, 2022

DEPC event: "Not a SAFE Bet: Equitable Access to Cannabis Banking"

FYhpMJQWAAA1N0AI am pleased to spotlight another great Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) event that is part of our summer 2022 Cannabis Regulatory Deep Dive.  (The first event in this series on "Interstate Commerce" can be watched at this YouTube link.).  This event is scheduled for August 17 at 12noon and is titled "Not a SAFE Bet: Equitable Access to Cannabis Banking."  This is how this event is described on this webpage (where you can register):

According to members of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition, the SAFE Banking Act, as written, is not a safe bet to achieve fair and equitable access to financial services for those in the cannabis industry.

Please join us for another Cannabis Regulatory Deep Dive as our panel of experts shares their analysis of the SAFE Banking Act, why it would fall short of its goals, and recommendations to improve fair access to cannabis banking as detailed in their soon-to-be released paper, Not a SAFE Bet: Equitable Access to Cannabis Banking.

Panelists:
Cat Packer, Distinguished Cannabis Policy Practitioner in Residence, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, The Ohio State University
Rafi Aliya Crockett, Commissioner, Washington, D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
Dasheeda Dawson, Cannabis Program Manager, City of Portland, Oregon 
Shaleen Title, Distinguished Cannabis Policy Practitioner in Residence, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, The Ohio State University

July 25, 2022 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 11, 2022

"Maximizing social equity as a pillar of public administration: An examination of cannabis dispensary licensing in Pennsylvania"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new paper authored by Alfred Lee Hannah, Daniel J. Mallinson and Lauren Azevedo published in the Public Administration Review. (For the record, this research was supported by funding from the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.)   Here is the paper's abstract:

Public administration upholds four pillars of an administrative practice: economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and social equity.  The question arises, however, how do administrators balance effectiveness and social equity when implementing policy?  Can the values contributing to administrative decisions be measured?

This study leverages the expansion of medical cannabis programs in the states to interrogate these questions.  The awarding of dispensary licenses in Pennsylvania affords the ability to determine the effect of social equity scoring on license award decisions, relative to criteria that represent the other pillars.  The results show that safety and business acumen were the most important determining factors in the awarding of licenses, both effectiveness concerns.  Social equity does not emerge as a significant determinant until the second round of licensing.  This study then discusses the future of social equity provisions for cannabis policy, as well as what the findings mean for social equity in public administration.

July 11, 2022 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 11, 2022

"Criminalizing Addiction in Motherhood: A Modern Phenomenon"

I continue to be excited to continue to be able to post a lot of recently produced papers that are part of 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 Jamie Feyko who recently graduated from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.  Here is its abstract: 

We have built motherhood into an impossible ideal.  Mothers are expected to do it all, be it all, have it all.  And these unachievable expectations begin before a child is even born.  If something goes wrong during pregnancy, we immediately blame the mother.  This culture of blame becomes even more magnified when mothers struggle with addiction.  Mothers are blamed for struggling with substance use disorders (SUDs), despite modern medicine establishing — definitively and indisputably — that addiction is a disease, not a choice or a moral failing.

Starting in the 1980s, the criminal justice system began a determined effort to criminalize mothers struggling with SUDs.  Drawing on law review articles, legal precedent, and newspaper articles, this paper will explain the relatively modern legal development of criminalizing mothers for struggling with SUDs and contextualize this movement within the evolving cultural beliefs surrounding motherhood and addiction.  This paper will detail the ways in which prosecutors first began filing charges against mothers for exposing their fetuses to drug metabolites in utero, the shaky legal foundations of these early attempts, and how state statutes expanded to provide stronger legal footing for criminalizing mothers with addiction.  The paper will conclude by explaining the ultimate futility of trying to use the criminal system to “deter” mothers from the disease of addiction and highlight policy changes that would be better suited for addressing the problem of maternal substance use disorders.

June 11, 2022 in Race, Gender and Class Issues, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 29, 2022

"The Real War on Families – An Examination on American Child Welfare Law in the Shadow of Drug Prohibition"

As mentioned in a number of prior posts, the end of a busy semester becoming the start of summer means I am able to catch up on posting a lot of recently produced papers that are part of the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.   The title of this post is the title of this paper authored by Karen Augenstein, a recent graduate of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.  Here is its abstract:

American law emphasizes the value of family whether that be through tax deductions on children or mandating child support.  However, when it comes to the War on Drugs, the importance of family seems to have been forgotten in favor of punishing those with substance abuse issues in the worst way possible: taking away their children.  Whether the intention of lawmakers or not, those who suffered the most tended to be minority and poor parents, the ones who struggled to have their voices heard.  Even today, America continues to punish victims of abuse by removing their children and imposing harsh, impossible requirements for reunification.

This paper is divided into three sections.  The first section examines the basis for child welfare in America, focusing primarily on three pieces of child welfare legislation that incorporated parental drug use into its mandates: Child Abuse Protection and Treatment Act of 1974, Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, and the Adoption and Safe Families act of 1997.  The second section breaks down two areas of child welfare law: infants born testing positive for drugs and the explosion of the foster care system, and examine how drug laws, coupled with punitive, discriminatory action, broke apart families.  Finally, the third section recommends changes the American child welfare system could make in its approach to drug addicted parents, in an effort to reunify, rather than punish, parents who suffer from substance abuse issues.

May 29, 2022 in Race, Gender and Class Issues, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Modern day Fiorello La Guardia?: US Senate candidate Gary Chambers smokes marijuana in new campaign ad protesting criminalization

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As detailed in this piece, headlined "Fiorello La Guardia Protested Prohibition By Drinking a Beer…In Congress," some notable politicians have taken notable steps to protest foolhardy prohibitions.  Here are the details from a century ago:

Fiorello La Guardia, best known as the mayor of New York City in the 1930s and ’40s, flaunted his illegal drinking by sipping homemade beer in his congressional office in Washington, D.C.

In 1926, La Guardia summoned 20 newspaper reporters and photographers into Room 150 of the House Office Building. With a straight face, he took “near beer” (the low-alcohol beer allowed under the Volstead Act) and mixed it with two-thirds of a bottle of malt tonic. Then he took a sip. He declared the alcoholic beverage legal, according to La Guardia’s New York Times obituary in 1947, and headlines the next day heralded his publicity stunt.

Notably, La Guardia was also not a fan of marijuana prohibition either:

He went on to become one of the most popular mayors in New York City history. As mayor, his activism against congressional policing of substances continued. La Guardia commissioned the La Guardia Committee Report on Marihuana in response to the start of the war on drugs in the late 1930s. In 1944, after five years of study, his report declared several groundbreaking statements:

“The use of marihuana does not lead to morphine or heroin or cocaine addiction and no effort is made to create a market for these narcotics by stimulating the practice of marihuana (sic) smoking. The publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marihuana smoking in New York City is unfounded. Marihuana is not the determining factor in the commission of major crimes.”

The study was enough to make Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the federal Bureau of Narcotics, denounce La Guardia, his study, and his stance on drugs.

La Guardia’s anti-regulatory stance on cannabis wasn’t embraced by the public as much as his stance against Prohibition was. But one day, perhaps the U.S. will look back fondly on La Guardia’s prescience, just like people today look back on his homemade “beer” he drank while in the House of Representatives.

This notable bit of history came to mind when I saw this new ABC News story headlined "Democratic Senate candidate smokes marijuana in new ad highlighting disparity and reform." The ad is very much worth watching in full (so I have it embedded below), and here are the basics from the press piece:

Progressive activist and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Gary Chambers Jr. smokes marijuana in a field in New Orleans while talking about marijuana reform in his first campaign ad. On Jan. 1, smokeable medical marijuana became legal in Louisiana under certain conditions....

Chambers, who is Black, opens the new ad titled "37 Seconds" by lighting and smoking a joint as a stopwatch clicks in the background.

He says someone is arrested for possession of marijuana every 37 seconds. “Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana laws than white people. States waste $3.7 billion enforcing marijuana laws every year,” he goes on....

Chambers, who has never been arrested, ended the ad saying, “Most of the people police are arrested aren't dealers, but rather people with small amounts of pot, just like me.”

January 18, 2022 in Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Criminal justice developments and reforms, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 3, 2022

"Cannabis decriminalization and racial disparity in arrests for cannabis possession"

The title of this post is the title of this encouraging new research in the January 2022 issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine.  This piece is authored by Christian Gunadi and Yuyan Shi, and here is its abstract:

Rationale

Minorities often bear the brunt of unequal enforcement of drug laws. In the U.S., Blacks have been disproportionately more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than Whites despite a similar rate of cannabis use. Decriminalizing cannabis has been argued as a way to reduce racial disparity in cannabis possession arrests. To date, however, the empirical evidence to support this argument is almost non-existent.

Objectives

To examine whether cannabis decriminalization was associated with reduced racial disparity in arrests for cannabis possession between Blacks and Whites in the U.S.

Methods

Using FBI Uniform Crime Report data from 37 U.S. states, cannabis possession arrest rates were calculated separately for Blacks and Whites from 2000 to 2019.  A difference-in-differences framework was used to estimate the association between cannabis decriminalization and racial disparity in cannabis possession arrest rates (Blacks/Whites ratio) among adults and youths.

Results

Cannabis possession arrest rates declined over 70% among adults and over 40% among youths after the implementation of cannabis decriminalization in 11 states. Among adults, decriminalization was associated with a roughly 17% decrease in racial disparity in arrest rates between Blacks and Whites.  Among youths, arrest rates declined among both Blacks and Whites but there was no evidence for a change in racial disparity between Blacks and Whites following decriminalization.

Conclusions

Cannabis decriminalization was associated with substantially lower cannabis possession arrest rates among both adults and youths and among both Blacks and Whites.  It reduced racial disparity between Blacks and Whites among adults but not youths.  These findings suggested that cannabis decriminalization had its intended consequence of reducing arrests and may have potential to reduce racial disparity in arrests at least among adults.

January 3, 2022 in Criminal justice developments and reforms, Initiative reforms in states, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

"Fair and Square: How to Effectively Incorporate Social Equity Into Cannabis Laws and Regulations"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new paper available via SSRN and authored by Shaleen Title.  (Shaleen Title served as one of five inaugural commissioners of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission from 2017 to 2020, and this year has been serving as the Distinguished Cannabis Policy Practitioner in Residence at the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.)  Here is the abstract for this paper:

As states and local jurisdictions implement new laws legalizing marijuana, many have charged regulators with the worthy goal of remedying the injustices of the drug war, a concept known as social equity.  Broadly, social equity falls into a few core policy categories: criminal justice reforms, including automatic expungement of past cannabis offenses; reinvesting a percentage of marijuana tax revenue into the most impacted communities; and — the focus of this paper — creating a cohesive cannabis industry licensing framework with special considerations for people affected by the war on drugs.

So far, no program has successfully achieved its social equity goals as originally envisioned.  But as each new state studies and incorporates the experiences of those that previously tried, we are seeing remarkable progress with respect to the involvement, inclusion, and support of people who have experienced disproportionate harm from prohibition.  This paper is designed to equip readers with practical advice about how to implement social equity.  There are three large policy areas regulators have to address as they begin to design a comprehensive social equity policy for their state’s cannabis industry: policies around what makes an individual or an entity a social equity applicant, policies around what benefits a social equity applicant should have access to, and licensing policies that will support your community’s social equity goals.

December 7, 2021 in Business laws and regulatory issues, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

"Forty Greenhouses and a Dispenser’s License: Affirmative Action and Racial Equity in Marijuana Licensing"

The title of this post is the title of this paper recently posted to SSRN and authored by Eleni Christofides, a recent graduate of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.  (This paper is yet another in the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.)   Here is this latest paper's abstract:  

Federal and state attempts at creating racially equitable marijuana industries can go much farther to treat the harms of the War on Drugs.  If legislatures, or creators of ballot initiatives, seek “race-neutral” policies, they should boost the ability of people with criminal system involvement to have a place in the industry, and to make good on the often-unrealized promise of expungement.  However, the most effective strategy is to confront the racist impact of the War on Drugs head-on, and acknowledge the significance of race in creating a legal industry.  If laws fail to do so, then as more states pass medical programs or even medical and recreational-combined programs, their data collection shows and will show a lack of diversity in the industry.  The silver lining is that the trend may allow future affirmative action schemes to have the evidence to defeat a strict scrutiny challenge.  Though frustrating, waiting on legalization that builds more socially and racially equitable systems for the industry is worthwhile. Returning to an industry that has already taken off, primarily with white-owned-and-controlled companies, and trying to infuse racial and social equity, is not a promising strategy to accomplish real and meaningful change.

December 1, 2021 in History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Race, Gender and Class Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 12, 2021

"Maximizing Social Equity as a Pillar of Public Administration: An Examination of Dispensary Licensing in Pennsylvania"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new preprint authored by Lee Hannah, Daniel Mallinson and Lauren Azevedo. (Note: This research received supported from the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, which I help direct.)   Here is the paper's abstract:

Public administration upholds four key pillars for administrative practice: economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and social equity.  The question arises, however, how do administrators balance these often-competing priorities when implementing policy?  Can the values which contributed to administrative decisions be measured? 

This study leverages the expansion of medical cannabis programs in the states to interrogate these questions.  Focusing on the awarding of dispensary licenses in Pennsylvania affords the ability to determine the effect of social equity scoring on license award decision, relative to criteria that represent the other pillars of public administration.  The results show that safety and business acumen were the most important determining factors in the awarding of licenses, both effectiveness and efficiency concerns. Social equity does not emerge as a significant determinant.

November 12, 2021 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Medical Marijuana Data and Research, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 11, 2021

"Menthols and Racial Capitalism: A History of Tobacco Profiteering in Black Urban Spaces"

Download (11)The title of this post is the title of an exciting event sponsored by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.  Here is a description of the event from this registration page:

Long seen by the tobacco industry as a consumer segment of consumers ripe for exploitation, urban communities of color have endured vicious decades of deceit and disregard for their health as the targets of menthol cigarette advertising.  Menthols comprise some 30 percent of a shrinking tobacco market in the United States.

As the industry and its supporters in public office move to protect their profits from a federal ban, Dr. Wailoo offers a detailed account of how advertising firms explicitly capitalized on poverty, alienation, and drug use to carve a menthol market out of urban space.   This effort, which started in the 1950s and lasted decades, followed the tobacco industry’s false framing of menthol cigarettes as a safer, even healthful alternative for smokers beginning in the 1920s. 

Join the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center for a moderated discussion with Professor Keith Wailoo, author of Pushing Cool: Big Tobacco, Racial Marketing, and the Untold Story of the Menthol Cigarette, Dr. Amy Fairchild, dean of The Ohio State University College of Public Health, and DEPC Visiting Assistant Professor Sarah Brady Siff.

Again, registration for this event is available at this link.

October 11, 2021 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Race, Gender and Class Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 27, 2021

"Fair Lending for Cannabis Banking Justice"

The title of this post is the title of this new piece authored by Benjamin Seymour now on SSRN. Here is its abstract:

This Comment offers a fair lending solution to promote racial equity in federal cannabis banking reform: amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to ensure individuals previously arrested, charged, or convicted for selling, cultivating, or possessing marijuana will not therefore be precluded from loans to start legal cannabis businesses. Given disparities in the criminal enforcement of marijuana laws, this amendment would provide racial justice benefits, while also encouraging entrepreneurship.  As a market-based social justice effort, this amendment offers a bipartisan approach to one of the most vexing and contentious issues in marijuana banking reform.

This Comment briefly surveys the federal statutes that have led to an under-banked cannabis industry and discusses the costs of cash for marijuana businesses.  It then examines prior reforms proposed by academics, executive-branch officials, and legislators.  Finally, this Comment explores the racial equity concerns that these proposals fail to address and develops a fair lending approach for justice in marijuana banking reform.

August 27, 2021 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Race, Gender and Class Issues, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)