Thursday, June 13, 2024

"Ohio Principals' Perspectives on How Adult-Use Marijuana May Impact Schools and Students"

The title of this post is the title of this terrific new report now available via SSRN and authored by Peter Leasure Jana Hrdinova with the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.   Here is the report's abstract:

Over the last decade, significant effort has been devoted to examining whether the legalization of recreational cannabis leads to higher rates of use among youth given that some research links adolescent marijuana use with various negative educational, health, and safety outcomes.  Although some national survey results over the last decade suggest that current marijuana use among high school students has decreased, the concern about youth use remains (especially in jurisdictions that have recently legalized marijuana for recreational use).  The goal of the current study was to explore current issues with student marijuana use in Ohio’s K-12 schools and anticipated future issues given the recent legalization of adult-use marijuana in Ohio.

In December 2023, before any recreational marijuana was available for sale in the state of Ohio, an online survey was distributed to Ohio’s K-12 principals that covered three general areas: current student behavior with respect to marijuana, anticipated impact of marijuana legalization on students, and anticipated impact of marijuana legalization on schools and its policies.  The results indicated notable agreement among principals that current marijuana use on school premises and away from school premises was perceived as a problem.  Principals also reported high levels of concern about the anticipated impact of cannabis legalization on their students with respect to increased marijuana use among students, increased physical and mental health issues, negative impact on academic performance, and negative impact on students’ behavior at school.  While the results generally showed higher levels of agreement about expected negative impacts among principals at high schools and middle schools, elementary school principals still noted modest to high levels of concern for many questions.  Given those results, it is not surprising that many principals stated that they would likely increase education about the negative effects of marijuana use. Further, over 80% of principals noted that more funding should be provided to Ohio schools for marijuana-specific education now that recreational marijuana is legalized in Ohio.

June 13, 2024 in Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 13, 2024

New MPP report reviews "Cannabis Tax Revenue in States that Regulate Cannabis for Adult Use"

56154b75-92e7-402c-9346-7513b42e537f_1920x1080The Marijuana Policy Project has recently released this new report titled "Cannabis Tax Revenue in States that Regulate Cannabis for Adult Use." The report has lots of state-ny-state tax data, and here is how it gets startd:

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 first quarter of 2024, states have reported a combined total of more than $20 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use cannabis sales.  In 2023 alone, legalization states generated more than $4 billion in cannabis tax revenue from adult-use sales, which is the most revenue generated by cannabis sales in a single year.  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-four states have legalized cannabis possession for adults 21 and older.  All but one of them — Virginia — have also legalized, regulated, and taxed cannabis sales. In two legalization states — Delaware and Ohio — sales have not begun yet.

In many states with legal, adult-use cannabis sales, tax revenues are allocated for social services and programs. This includes funding education, school construction, early literacy, public libraries, bullying prevention, behavioral health, alcohol and drug treatment, veterans’ services, conservation, job training, conviction expungement expenses, and reinvestment in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on cannabis, among many others.

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 are 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.

May 13, 2024 in Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Taxation information and issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

"Local Moratoriums for Ohio Adult Use Marijuana Operators"

The title of this post is the heading for this terrific new resource page just posted along with other Policy and Data Analyses at the website of The Ohio State University's Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (which I help direct).  Here is how the resource is introduced:

In November 2023, 57% of Ohio voters voted for Issue 2, a ballot initiative which legalized adult recreational marijuana use and tasked the Ohio Departments of Commerce and Development with implementing a legal recreational cannabis industry in the state.  As of December 7, 2023, individuals 21 years and older can legally consume and possess marijuana throughout Ohio, although recreational dispensaries are not expected to open until the summer or early fall of 2024.  Like most other states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use, Ohio allows local jurisdictions to enact ordinances to prohibit or limit the operation of adult-use cannabis businesses within their boundaries.  This page presents information on 47 local moratoriums that have been enacted by Ohio jurisdictions as of March 31, 2024.

May 7, 2024 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

"Budding cannabis law courses are growing — but not fast enough"

Though I am done teaching my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar for this semester, I am still having a grand time working with students on their final papers.  And all the work by and with my students all semester long deeply reinforces my sense that marijuana courses in law school can serve as a terrific way to cover all sorts of legal doctrines and policies and pragmatic issues that lawyers can and will confront in many settings.  With these matters in mind, I am so very pleased to see this new ABA Journal article with the headline that serves as the title fo this post.  Here are some excerpts:

Inspired by President Joe Biden’s call to review cannabis’ classification as a Schedule I controlled substance and many states’ moves to legalize weed for medical and general use, an increasing number of law schools around the country are offering cannabis law courses.

In the 2022-2023 academic year, 45 law schools—or about 22% of the 197 ABA-accredited schools—offered a combined total of 47 cannabis law courses, according to research by the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.  Although that’s an increase of 24 schools compared to four years earlier in the 2018-2019 academic year, some professors think that even more are needed. “We’re still playing catch-up,” says Robert Mikos, a professor at the Vanderbilt University Law School who has taught a class on marijuana law and policy for more than 10 years....

As the weed business grows, so does the need for lawyers. There are jobs in this field, and they extend far beyond representing cannabis dispensaries, says Mikos ...  Opportunities include working for government regulatory agencies tasked with supervising the licensed cannabis industry, working as advocates and representing investors whose holdings touch the industry, such as real estate that a dispensary wants to rent....

In the classroom, professors must balance theory with myriad practical and ethical issues embedded in the ever-changing state laws and federal regulation, they say. Intersections with cannabis law include constitutional law, taxes, intellectual property, real estate, the environment and workers’ rights.

Most cannabis law classes are directed at upper-level students.  “It’s a great capstone course,” Mikos says. “If you’re a 3L, you might have encountered already constitutional law, criminal law, corporations or administrative law. Now, you get to put that into practice and put it all together in a very concrete way.”

April 16, 2024 in Business laws and regulatory issues, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Student presentation examines marijuana legalization and local regulations

Screen-Shot-2022-05-26-at-11.22.57-AM-768x952Sadly, we are now into our final few weeks of students presentaions in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar.  Excitingly, we still have nearly a dozen more presentations coming.  As I have explained before, students are expected to provide in this space some background on their presentation topic and links to some readings or relevant materials. The first of our presentations taking place in class next week will be looking at "Legalized Marijuana and Local Regulation." Here is how my student has described his topic along with background readings he has provided for classmates (and the rest of us):

The growing trend towards full legalization of recreational marijuana throughout the United States has resulted in a variety of quirks in different states’ legislative schemes. One important quirk is laws that allow municipalities to ban or heavily regulate legal marijuana in conflict with state-wide legalization.

Local control can be broadly grouped into two categories.  First, there is existing local control that applies neutrally to marijuana vendors and other businesses within a municipality as implemented through local health and zoning codes.  Second, there are proposed or implemented laws that allow localities to ban or heavily restrict the establishment and operation of marijuana vendors within municipal limits that would otherwise be permissible under state law.  While the first method of regulation should be allowed, the second method of regulation threatens to perpetuate the issues with illegal marijuana that full legalization aims to solve.  Between existing zoning rules and state-specific local bans, this issue affects most people in states with legal marijuana.

My presentation will focus on the background behind local marijuana bans, the interaction between federalism and localism, and the problems that legalization seeks to address.  I will then review the laws in states that have either allowed for local bans or are proposing local bans and the measurable effects of those laws.  Finally, I will analyze the effects of allowing bans on a local level versus blanket legalizations and develop recommendations for policymakers.

Suggested Sources:

Article: Cannabis Legalization In State Legislatures: Public Health Opportunity And Risk, 103 Marq. L. Rev. 1313 (2020)

Article: Cannabis Capitalism, 69 Buffalo L. Rev. 215 (2021)

Resource Page:  Investopedia, Marijuana Laws by State (2024).

Article: American Edibles: How Cannabis Regulatory Policy Rehashes Prohibitionist Fears and What to Do About It, 44 Seattle U. L. Rev. 915 (2021)  

Resource Page: Curate, Local Government Impact on Cannabis Industry (2024)

March 27, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Business laws and regulatory issues, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 25, 2024

Student presentation exploring Delta-8 THC products

Images (2)As noted in this prior post, there is an on-going debate in Ohio (as well as in many other jurisdictions) about so-called Delta-8 or "intoxicating hemp" products.  Helpfully, the last planned presentation for this week in my Marijuana Law seminar is going to cover issues surrounding Delta-8, and here are some resources that she provided for some background:

Background information about Delta-8:

Leas, EC. The Hemp Loophole: A Need to Clarify the Legality of Delta-8-THC and Other Hemp-Derived Tetrahydrocannabinol Compounds. Am J Public Health. 2021 Nov;111(11):1927-1931.

FDA and DEA Regulation:

FDA advises against use: 5 Things to Know about Delt-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol – Delta-8 THC. Food and Drug Administration. May 5, 2022.

Coverage of warning letters sent to Delta-8 brands by FDA.

Good summary of case interpreting "hemp" to include Delta-8 products under Farm Bill 

Good summary of possible DEA Interpretation

Coverage of the push from the states for federal regulation

Report on study regarding Delat-8 use and state regulation

March 25, 2024 in Assembled readings on specific topics, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 18, 2024

A pitch for how the Buckeye State should plan to use marijuana green

CannabisblogWhen Ohio voters approved full legalization of marijuana in November 2023 through passage of Issue 2, the initiative included a specific tax rate and a defined allocation for marijuana tax revenues.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, as members of the Ohio General Assembly have discussed further marijuana reforms, both the tax rates and allocation of revenues have been a subject of debate. Bailey Williams of Policy Matters Ohio has authored this helpful new blogpost on this topic titled "Cannabis tax revenue can help communities. Legislators have other ideas." I recommend the full piece, and here is an excerpt:

Over two million Ohioans voted to legalize marijuana sales and use tax revenue from those sales to benefit communities where dispensaries are located (called “host communities”), fund substance-abuse research, and create restorative justice programs to remediate some of the harm done by the war on drugs.  Changes by the legislature should focus on regulating the market to ensure product safety or improving the collection and use of tax revenue to redress racial disparities created by the discriminatory enforcement of recreational marijuana prohibition.  Any other changes to the statute risk subverting the will of the voters.

Ohio lawmakers have floated two such changes, both of which should be rejected: Tax revenues from legal marijuana sales should not be used to fund broad rate cuts to the state income tax, nor should they be earmarked for policing.  Either change would divert funding that should be used to help those harmed by the failed war on drugs, and clear the criminal records of Ohioans being punished for actions that are no longer crimes....

The Ohio Senate has already passed changes to state marijuana laws. These changes include raising the tax levied in addition to the state sales tax on legal sales from 10% to 15%; diverting hundreds of millions of dollars away from restorative justice programs and communities that host dispensaries and into policing and jails; tighter restrictions on home growth of marijuana; and piecemeal funding for expungement efforts for marijuana-related offenses that are no longer illegal.

The Ohio House has not yet proposed its version of the changes, but representatives have expressed some priorities.  At least one has proposed using a portion of the tax revenue raised from marijuana sales to finance broad income tax rate cuts.  This policy choice should be rejected now and in the future.  Broad cuts to income tax rates typically result in the wealthiest taxpayers receiving most of the value of the cut....

Similarly ill-conceived is the idea — recommended by members of both chambers and included in the Senate bill — of earmarking marijuana tax revenue specifically for policing.  The Senate would divert over $200 million a year in tax revenue from marijuana sales into investigative unit and drug task force operations, police officer training, and the construction of new jails.  This ignores the fact that Issue 2 already takes into consideration any increase in policing needs that may arise from the end of recreational marijuana prohibition.  Localities that host marijuana dispensaries will receive tax revenue from that business; this revenue can be spent on policing if need be. It also could be used on other public goods, such as parks and public transit.  Communities should be able to decide for themselves how that funding is used....

Clearing criminal records for what is now legal marijuana possession is an important step toward restorative justice.  Issue 2 required and funded research on expungement and record sealing but did nothing to simplify the often cumbersome process.  Ohioans seeking to expunge or seal their marijuana convictions face a waiting period and possible prosecutorial objections, and may be required to pay expensive legal fees and court costs.  They must also prove they are rehabilitated before they can have their records officially expunged.  These Ohioans are often subject to collateral sanctions, which limit an individual’s earning potential and increase the likelihood of recidivism....

When Ohioans overwhelmingly passed Issue 2, we sent a clear message to our representatives in Columbus: Legalize the sale of recreational cannabis, and use the revenue it generates to help the people and communities harmed by the failed war on drugs.  Some representatives appear poised to disregard those explicit instructions — as they have done with increasing frequency.  There are better options available; our representatives should listen to the voters.

February 18, 2024 in Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Taxation information and issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 12, 2024

Noting the peer pressure realities around marijuana policy reforms

Ab399ca2-38bb-4973-8707-50369ea566cd_1920x1080A range of research suggests peers can play an important role in influencing substance use behaviors. But this new Marijuana Moment article, headlined "Pennsylvania Governor Says Lawmakers ‘Don’t Even Have A Choice’ But To Legalize Marijuana As Other States Move Ahead," got me to thinking about how state substance use policy reforms can be influenced by peer pressure.  Here is how the article starts:

Pennsylvania’s governor says he thinks officials in the state “don’t even have a choice anymore” on legalizing marijuana, and he feels there’s bipartisan momentum that lawmakers should leverage to get the job done.

With neighboring states such as Ohio enacting legalization in recent years, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) said last week that “this really comes down to an issue now of competitiveness,” as the state is currently “losing out on 250 million bucks a year in revenue that could go to anything from economic development, education, you name it.”

“The reality is, as long as we have safeguards in place to make sure our children aren’t getting their hands on it—it’s just like, we don’t want our kids out drinking, right?” he said. “And a lot of that is going to be a burden on parents and schools and others to make sure we educate on that. Then I think this is something we’ve got to compete on.”

“I actually think we don’t even have a choice anymore given the way in which this is moving so quickly across our region and across the country,” Shapiro told WILK News Radio, adding that he’s personally “evolved on” the issue and wants a legal cannabis market “focused on lifting up Pennsylvania businesses in the process—not these big national conglomerates—and we’re empowering people in local communities to it that I think some good can come from it.”...

“It’s obviously wildly popular across the country and certainly in polling regionally and in the states. So if someone’s going to be against it, I think they’re going to have to justify that to their constituents as well,” he said. “There does seem to be an emerging bipartisan consensus that we’ve got to compete on this issue, and we’ll see if we can get it done. We’re going to work hard.”...

In a separate interview with KDKA News Radio that the governor’s office also promoted last week, Shapiro noted that his office estimates that Pennsylvania could bring in $250 million in tax revenue annually from cannabis sales. “The reality is we are leaving all that money on the table. We are falling behind other states,” he said. “I think it’s another story of us not being as competitive as we need to be, and I think its time has come.”

“It’s time to shut down the black market. It’s time to take the strain off of cops. It’s time to be competitive. And this is a way to do that,” the governor said. “We can’t let Ohio and the other states around us keep eating our lunch on this or any other issue. As I’ve said many times, I’m competitive as hell and this is one of those areas. We’ve got to compete it.” A staffer in Shapiro’s office similarly remarked on the need to legalize marijuana after Ohio voters approved the reform at the ballot last November.

February 12, 2024 in Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 5, 2024

Marking new era (and new generation) substituting marijuana for alcohol?

When I first started paying attention to marijuana reforms and its potential impacts, I recall a number of public health experts suggesting that greater use of marijuana could end up a public health benefit if marijuana was used as a substitute for alcohol, but greater use would likely be a public health problem if used as a supplement to alcohol.  Against that backdrop, all these new press stories about trends in the start of 2024 seemed worth flagging:

From Bloomberg, "Weed Sales Boom in Dry January as People Drink Less"

From Forbes, "Almost Half Of Those Doing Dry January Use Cannabis — Can It Help You Quit Alcohol?"

From Fortune, "Gen Z’s buyers’ strike on alcohol turns ‘Dry January’ into skyhigh new year"

From Kiplinger, "Dry January Can Boost Weed Sales: This Week in Cannabis Investing"

From Modern Retail, "Cannabis beverage brands capitalized on Dry January interest"

From the New York Times, "What Does Being Sober Mean Today? For Many, Not Full Abstinence."

From Vice, "The Rise of 'Sober But', the Dry January Where You Still Do Drugs"

February 5, 2024 in History of Alcohol Prohibition and Temperance Movements, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | 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)

Friday, January 26, 2024

DEPC event: "Implementing Issue 2: Criminal Justice Reform After Marijuana Legalization"

A7f44381-b00d-4d72-96b5-890ae7490964The title of this post is provides the title of this online event being hosted by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC)  next week.  Here is how this panel discussion, which I am honored to moderate and takes place on January 31, 2024 from 12 noon to 1:15 p.m. ET, is described on this page (where you can register):

Criminal justice reform has been a component of marijuana reform in most states, and Ohio’s newly enacted Issue 2 includes a directive and resources for efforts to “study and fund judicial and criminal justice reform including bail, parole, sentencing reform, expungement and sealing of records, legal aid, and community policing related to marijuana.” In the wake of Issue 2’s passage, criminal justice reform advocates are renewing calls to address harms caused by the past criminalization of a substance that is no longer illegal. The nature and scope of past harms are not always clearly defined nor easily remedied, though efforts to eliminate direct or collateral consequences from past cannabis offenses are often a focal point for action.

Please join the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center and our panel of experts as they discuss how Ohio should approach criminal justice reform after marijuana legalization, what Ohio can learn from other states’ experiences, and the unique political and practical challenges Ohio may face.

Ohio Representative Juanita Brent, District 22
Adrian Rocha, Policy Manager, Last Prisoner Project 
Daniel Dew, Policy Director, The Adams Project
Louis Tobin, Executive Director, Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association

January 26, 2024 in Criminal justice developments and reforms, Initiative reforms in states, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 22, 2024

Rounding up some recent reporting about Ohio cannabis realities (thanks in part to Ohio Gov DeWine)

As flagged in this prior post, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine last week leaned heavily into advocacy for greater regulation of Delta 8 and other so-called "intoxicating help" products.  From various reporting, it has been unclear whether Gov DeWine wants a complete ban on these products or just regulations to reduce youth access.  More broadly, it has been challenging to sort through how Gov DeWine and other Ohio leaders want to regulate in the entire cannabis field ever since Ohio voters overwhelming passed Issue 2, a full legalization ballot initiaitive, in Nov 2023. 

In part because I am expecting students in my marijuana seminar to sort through some of these Ohio issues for their mid-term assignment, I thought it might be useful to round up here some recent reporting on these topics.  (I am inclined to joke that the Buckeye State is proving to be a tough nut to crack when t comes to cannabis laws.)

From Bloomberg Tax, "Ohio’s Adult-Use Cannabis Bill Still Needs to Work Out Kinks"

From, "Ohio bill would move hemp products from gas stations and grocery stores to marijuana dispensaries"

From Dayton Daily News, "From ‘mom room’ to dispensary, here’s how pot is legally grown in Ohio"

From Ideastream Public Media, "Marijuna 101: Ohio medical dispensaries prepare for new customers, rules after Issue 2 passage"

From Marijuana Moment, "Ohio Marijuana Law Has Created A ‘Goofy Situation,’ Governor Says, With Legal Possession But No Place To Buy It"

From the Ohio Capital Journal, "Ohio House leaves marijuana users in limbo with weed policy"

From the Ohio Capital Journal, "What is delta-8 and why does Ohio Gov. DeWine want to ban it?"

From the Statehouse News Bureau, "Ohio retailer says delta-8 THC crackdown would 'tear' at business"

From WTOL11, "Interest in marijuana cultivation at home is growing, local business owner says"

January 22, 2024 in Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 29, 2023

Reviewing some marijuana year-in-review stories

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, November 9, 2023

A number of notable new marijuana reform milestones right after Election Day 2023

From Axios, "Marijuana legal for more than half of Americans after election win"

More than half of Americans reside in states where marijuana will be legal after Ohio voters approved a measure to allow recreational marijuana use....

By the numbers: The legalized marijuana market is worth $64 billion and has nearly tripled in three years as legalization efforts have swept the nation, a 2022 Coresight Research report found.

From Gallup, "Grassroots Support for Legalizing Marijuana Hits Record 70%":

Seven in 10 Americans think marijuana use should be legal, the highest level yet after holding steady at 68% for three years.

The latest results are based on a Gallup poll conducted Oct. 2-23. Aside from those in favor, 29% of U.S. adults think marijuana should not be legal, while 1% are unsure.

Twelve percent of Americans backed legalizing marijuana when Gallup first asked about it in 1969.  Support cracked the 50% threshold in 2013, jumping 10 percentage points to 58% after Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

Support has since increased by another 12 points, paralleling the rise in Americans’ self-reported use of the drug. According to Gallup’s July Consumption Habits survey, the percentage saying they personally smoke marijuana has risen 10 points to 17% since 2013, and the percentage who have ever tried it has increased 12 points to 50%.

November 9, 2023 in Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Polling data and results, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Reviewing the state of marijuana politics in the US on Election Day 2023

22068050-election-day-celebration-star-vectorLater tonight or early tomorrow I expect I will be blogging about the results of today's initiative vote on the full legalization of marijuana in Ohio.  And, as voters head to the polls in the Buckeye State and in some other states, I am tempted to make the case that cannabis reform politics may be at an inflection point.  But maybe not, especially when possible federal reforms may be looming.  I suspect I will opine a bit on marijuana politics after seeing some actual outcomes on this intriguing off-off-year election day, but for now I will lean on recent Marijuana Moment coverage of both state and federal politics in this arena:

"Ohio Voters Will Decide On A Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiative On Tuesday As Polls Show Strong Support"

"Virginia Election Forecast Predicts Democratic Wins In House And Senate, Which Could Lead To Legal Marijuana Sales"

"Colorado Should Be At The ‘Center’ Of Global Marijuana Market, Governor Says As He Unveils New Cannabis Budget Proposals"

"Pennsylvania House Committee Holds Marijuana Legalization Hearing As Lawmakers Consider State-Run Stores"

"Congressional Committee Urges DOJ To Study ‘Adequacy’ Of State Marijuana Laws And Address Federal Research Barriers"

"Congress Considers Opposing Amendments To Protect Legal Marijuana States And Block Biden From Rescheduling Cannabis"

"RFK Jr. Releases Presidential Campaign Ad Calling For Marijuana Legalization ‘To End Addiction’"

Happy Election Day to all who celebrate!

November 7, 2023 in Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 19, 2023

"What's Baked Within WADA’s 'Spirit of Sport' Criterion? Unpacking the Framework that Keeps Cannabis on the Prohibited Substance List"

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 new paper authored by Lily Dickson, who is in her final year as a student at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Here is its abstract:

The world is struggling to conceptualize a standard approach to cannabis policy.  Some states ban cannabis entirely, some states allow it for medical use, others fully legalize it.  At the same time, more and more athletes are coming forward about their experience with cannabis and its benefits.  WADA is the primary international source of power over both drug regulation and athletic federations.  Thus, WADA has the unique potential to develop a standardized approach to cannabis that can be applied consistently across all sports and countries. Despite WADA’s potential to use the “universal language” of sports for change, cannabis policy in sports is currently stagnant due to WADA’s presence in the conversation.  One obstacle to meaningful dialogue between athletic federations regarding cannabis use in sport first lies with WADA’s framework.  For a substance or method to be added to WADA’s Prohibited Substance List, it must meet at least two of the following three criteria: (1) it has the potential to enhance sports performance, (2) it represents an actual or potential health risk to athletes, or (3) it violates the Spirit of Sport.  Currently, the Spirit of Sport criterion is invoked as a catch-all. As opposed to the first two criteria, “the spirit of sport” it is inherently subjective.  As a result, it can have a significant impact on the way that anti-doping policies related to cannabis use are developed and enforced.  This paper suggests that WADA would be better equipped to approach the cannabis problem after (1) procedural change within WADA’s leadership structure to allow consideration of the changing legal and social context of cannabis use and (2) philosophical change to the principles underlying the Spirit of Sport criterion with the procedural changes in place.

October 19, 2023 in Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 6, 2023

"The Role of Small Business in the Evolving Cannabis Industry"

The title of this post is the title of this new paper now available via SSRN and authored Shaleen Title and Bruce Barcott. Here it is abstract:

As the legal cannabis sector grows and state markets mature, small businesses within the industry are struggling.  Now is an opportune time to examine the role of small businesses in the cannabis reform landscape.  With federal legislation on the horizon, policymakers require reliable information.  Unfortunately, research on the issue of small cannabis businesses remains sparse.

In this paper, we argue that small cannabis businesses foster local economic growth and contribute to the public good.  Additional research is necessary, particularly to compare findings from states that are already taking measures to safeguard and financially support specific types of small businesses.  In the interim, we recommend the exploration of immediate solutions, beginning with (1) access to SBA loans, (2) systematic data collection and potential expansion of state measures such as fee waivers and licensing prioritization, and (3) consideration of lower-cost regulations for small businesses.  Various relevant federal bills are listed and briefly analyzed in the Appendix.

October 6, 2023 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 21, 2023

DEPC event: "Will of the Voters?: The Future of Adult-Use Marijuana in Ohio"

C0225049-6f1a-4f06-b835-9d499dad5ca1I am pleased to spotlight another great Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) event taking place next month titled "Will of the Voters?: The Future of Adult-Use Marijuana in Ohio."  Here is how this online event, which is on October 23, 2023 from 12 noon to 1:15 p.m. EDT, is described on this page (where you can register):

To date, 23 states have legalized adult-use cannabis for recreational purposes.  In November of this year, Ohioans will have a chance to voice their views on whether the Buckeye state should follow in their footsteps. While the Ohio initiative is similar in many ways to other states’ reforms to legalize cannabis for recreational adult use, Ohio’s cannabis reform history and the particular details of the ballot proposal’s approach to legalization give a unique Buckeye character to this effort. Also, as initiated legislation (rather than as a proposed constitutional amendment) the Ohio General Assembly will be able to modify any parts of the initiative if it passes.

Join the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center for a panel discussion featuring experts as well as former and current legislators.  The event will explore this initiative’s structure, and its expected implementation, and how this initiative could impact the state’s existing medical marijuana market.  It will also delve into the chances of passage given the off-cycle election year and other political dynamics related to how the Ohio General Assembly might respond to the outcome of the election.


State Representative Josh Williams, Ohio District 41

John Carney, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP

Jason Ortiz, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Last Prisoner Project


Douglas A. Berman, Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law; Executive Director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center

September 21, 2023 in Initiative reforms in states, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Tulsa Law Review examining "Contemporary Cannabis: Wading Through a Post-Prohibition Era"

I was asked to post this call for papers, which I am happy to do:

Tulsa Law Review, in conjunction with the University of Tulsa College of Law and the University of Tulsa, is hosting a Symposium on Cannabis Law and Policy on March 1, 2024.

Theme: Contemporary Cannabis: Wading Through a Post-Prohibition Era

Tulsa Law Review invites interested parties to write and submit relevant articles for publication consideration in our 2024 Symposium Issue.  One panel will focus on evidentiary and interdisciplinary issues with the increasing legalization of cannabis at the medical and recreation level.  The other panel will discuss legalization at the state level and its effects on corporate and banking spheres.

With the recent announcement of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendation to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule III substance, we are excited to facilitate a thoughtful discussion and a variety of papers surrounding this timely topic.

Questions and paper proposals should be submitted to Cameron Skinner, Tulsa Law Review symposium editor, [email protected]

September 12, 2023 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Medical community perspectives, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)