Skip to main content

The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center solicits research papers from students in all areas of drug law and policy. Given the new and relatively unexamined area of academic writing on the subject of cannabis law, these student research papers often offer first takes on important issues of growing interest. Accepted student papers are uploaded and made available for download on SSRN.


To submit a paper, contact DEPC Administrative Director Jana Hrdinová at

Current Student Papers

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.

Lily Dickson, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Although Congress attempted to provide marijuana businesses and users with protection from federal government interference and prosecution, the signing of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, as an amendment to the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, has elicited a mixed response as to its effectiveness. These concerns stem from Congress structuring the Amendment as a limitation appropriation rider and using ambiguous language regarding its’ scope. Questions included whether Congress intended for the Amendment to only protect a state’s ability to create legal cannabis programs, pass cannabis regulations, and provide licenses to patients, distributors, and cultivation centers, or whether they also intended for the protection to extend to individuals and businesses operating under their state’s laws and regulations. Congress’ perceived efforts to indirectly decriminalize certain cannabis-related activities through spending bills has only increased the uncertainty of cannabis operations across the country, as evidenced by emerging circuit splits, namely decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit and First Circuit. Although potentially well-intended, Congress’ decision to address medical marijuana reform through an ambiguous appropriation rider rather than federal legalization through standalone legislation has only muddied the waters of an already complex, burdensome, and uncertain industry for businesses and individuals, alike.

Katie Potrzeboski, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Although individual states have not necessarily legislated that possessing a gun is unlawful for state compliant marijuana users, cannabis’s federal illegality produces this result. The process for obtaining a gun – regardless of what state the individual resides in – requires the individual to fill out the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms’ Form 4473. Form 4473 question 21g, as mandated by 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3), disqualifies cannabis users from purchasing a firearm.

Consequently, individuals who are fully in compliance with the marijuana laws in their home state are being stripped of their Second Amendment right, regardless of if the plant is being used for medicinal or adult use purposes. Therefore, marijuana users who wish to possess a gun have three options: stop using marijuana entirely, stop using state compliant marijuana and instead obtain it from an illicit source, or lie. Although ATF agents and prosecutors report that due to limited resources, they are not inclined to prioritize the nonviolent crime of lying on a form over more serious charges, lying on the form and obtaining a gun while being a cannabis user remains a federal felony offense.

In the wake of Bruen, litigation on this matter has so far been leaning in favor of gun rights activists. But there remain many unanswered questions in this area. The implications of either a legitimization of state-legal marijuana use on the federal level (while the plant remains on schedule I), or of an acknowledgement that the gun control/background check process can be changed, could be massive.

Katie Schaefer, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

As more American states end cannabis prohibition, regulators and lawmakers are faced with the difficult task of implementing rules to govern the growth, sale, and use of a plant whose impact on people’s medical conditions and overall health has been historically understudied. Empirically and anecdotally, moderate cannabis use looks to be less harmful than use of other legal regulated substances like alcohol and tobacco. As with nearly all substances, however, excessive chronic use of high-THC cannabis can have negative health effects. One such side effect is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), a relatively rare syndrome. Despite being first described nearly two decades ago, many questions remain as to the actual prevalence and exact causes of the syndrome. This paper will discuss current data surrounding CHS and the lessons this condition has for the broad and ever-changing post-prohibition world of cannabis. First, it calls for more research regarding public health outcomes associated with chronic use of high-THC cannabis. Second, it calls for the industry and broader reform movement to acknowledge public health concerns while calling out and debunking propaganda from prohibitionists. Finally, although CHS may not on its own be a significant enough risk to warrant an overhaul of current regulated systems, the broader health risks associated with chronic use of high-THC cannabis illuminate the need to adopt regulatory frameworks that discourage overuse and advance public health concerns in legalized jurisdictions.

Andrew Robie, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

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.

Aaron Larson, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

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.

Jesse Green, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

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.

Mac Patrick, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Naturally occurring psychedelic compounds have been used by humans for centuries and were the subject of promising research by Western scientists and academics in the 1950s and 1960s before becoming prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Despite the continuing prohibition on psychedelics, there has been a resurgence in academic and scientific interest in substances like psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA as effective therapeutic tools for patients with treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, and substance use disorders. Along with the burgeoning movement to apply psychedelics in a medical context, a movement to decriminalize and regulate some of these naturally occurring substances in municipalities and states across North America has taken hold, and some psychedelics now sit in a legal gray area in over fifteen cities in the United States. After a brief historical overview of psychedelic use in ceremonial, therapeutic, and “recreational” contexts, this paper explores state-wide ballot initiatives in Colorado and Oregon as well as city-specific efforts to decriminalize and regulate psilocybin, the naturally occurring psychoactive compound found in “magic mushrooms.” The decriminalization of psilocybin presents unique policy concerns in an industry that has the potential for massive growth in the coming decades—growth that could be monopolized, stifled, or outlawed. After a discussion of these issues, this paper provides policy recommendations for regulators and the industry moving forward.

Andrew M. Robie, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

As the cannabis legal landscape continues to evolve, researchers are increasingly discovering the medical benefits marijuana use has to offer. One medical benefit researchers have discovered is that marijuana can be used as an effective treatment for chronic pain without the same side effects or addiction risks as opioid prescriptions. This, in part, has led some states to extend workers’ compensation coverage to include medical marijuana costs. The coverage extension thus gives injured employees the right to choose medical marijuana over opioids. Unfortunately, some state supreme courts have stripped employees of this right by misapplying preemption doctrine and ruling that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) preempts the coverage extension. This article argues that the CSA’s statutory text, preemption doctrine and federal case law, and recent actions from all three branches of the federal government support the conclusion that federal law does not preempt the extension of workers’ compensation coverage to medical marijuana costs. The coverage extension stands to offer powerful benefits to states, including improving state labor markets and alleviating the opioid epidemic. Ultimately, the decision to extend workers’ compensation coverage is an inherent right in states’ police powers derived from the Tenth Amendment. Without strong evidence of federal preemption, it should be state legislatures, and not the courts, who decide whether to exclude medical marijuana from workers’ compensation.

Zach Love, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Archived Student Papers

As cannabis legalization continues to expand across the country, many small business owners worry about their ability to compete with large, multi-state corporations. The dominance of cannabis corporations also worries some about their effects on historical social inequity within the industry. When faced with a handful of giant businesses that have a majority of market share people often turn to antitrust law for the protection of small businesses and promotion of equity within an industry. But is it proper to turn to antitrust law? This paper explores the history of antitrust law and how it potentially can, or can't, help issues within the cannabis industry.

Despite state-legal cannabis being one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, companies in the cannabis space continue to be hamstrung by complex legal and financial problems stemming from the ongoing federal prohibition. Limited banking options have forced many cannabis companies to run cash-only enterprises, which presents a slew of its own practical and legal complications. Cashless payment systems face their own restrictions, with companies like Visa and MasterCard cracking down on cashless ATMS, which briefly provided a solution for some cannabis businesses. Closed-loop payment systems have emerged as another potential solution, but state-run programs may provide another workaround for the cannabis industry. This paper examines the need for cashless payment options in the cannabis space, reviews attempted cashless payment schemes, and explores the viability of closed-loop payment systems as a solution to some of the cannabis industry’s financial problems.

In the midst of state legalization and continued federal prohibition, advocates of cannabis legalization are mired in a different debate: should we call it marijuana or cannabis? While the origins of the drug’s illegality are clear and their effects omnipresent, the word marijuana remains shrouded in mystery. This paper examines the historical, etymological, and cultural roots of the terms surrounding the cannabis plant and explain why the shift to the term cannabis is appropriate. Drawing on the history of racism, xenophobia, propaganda, and linguistic manipulation in relation to cannabis in the United States over the past century, this paper argues for a renaming of marijuana as cannabis in legal (and other) contexts. B closely examining the origins and trajectory of the words surrounding the cannabis plant, this paper explains why shifting our terminology from marijuana to cannabis is an appropriate and necessary step in the movement to legalize cannabis at the national level and contend with the harms perpetrated by the War on Drugs.

The legacy of colonization and a history of discriminatory policies has left Native Americans with the highest poverty rate of any racial group in the United States. Some tribes have begun to look towards the marijuana marketplaces to generate revenue for their tribe and to encourage economic development. However, the uncertainty of the legal landscape has created an obstacle for many tribes. This paper starts by confronting the legal world of tribal marijuana including the backdrop of tribal sovereignty, legal obstacles, and potential guideposts. Following that there is a discussion of tribal marijuana endeavors exploring what has and has not worked. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion on what states, the federal government and tribes can learn from what has already happened in this space.

America’s legal cannabis market is growing exponentially and more states are beginning to legalize cannabis products. Currently, the legal cannabis industry supports 428,059 workers nationally, and it is predicted that a mature cannabis market would support 1.5 million to 1.75 million workers. However, it can be unclear what legal protections are offered to these workers under a federal prohibition regime. The basic right of workers to form a union is protected by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). However, the NLRA does not protect agricultural workers, and it is not clear which positions in the cannabis industry are considered “agricultural.” In addition, it is unclear whether the National Labor Relations Board will consistently exert jurisdiction over retail workers in a federally prohibited recreational marijuana industry. This paper will evaluate the applicability of the NLRA to the cannabis industry, the policy concerns surrounding the use of labor peace agreements to fill in gaps left by federal labor laws, and what widespread unionization could mean for a quickly growing sector of the economy.

America’s legal cannabis market is growing exponentially and more states are beginning to legalize cannabis products. Currently, the legal cannabis industry supports 428,059 workers nationally, and it is predicted that a mature cannabis market would support 1.5 million to 1.75 million workers. However, it can be unclear what legal protections are offered to these workers under a federal prohibition regime. The basic right of workers to form a union is protected by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). However, the NLRA does not protect agricultural workers, and it is not clear which positions in the cannabis industry are considered “agricultural.” In addition, it is unclear whether the National Labor Relations Board will consistently exert jurisdiction over retail workers in a federally prohibited recreational marijuana industry. This paper will evaluate the applicability of the NLRA to the cannabis industry, the policy concerns surrounding the use of labor peace agreements to fill in gaps left by federal labor laws, and what widespread unionization could mean for a quickly growing sector of the economy.

Ohio has suffered greatly at the hands of the opioid epidemic, but a new form of treatment could be on the rise for those who struggle with opioid use disorder (OUD). As Ohio Senate Bill 261 has proposed “opioid use disorder” as a new qualifying condition for the recommendation of medical marijuana, the possibility emerges of medical marijuana’s positive impact on the opioid crisis. This paper will explore the relationship between medical marijuana and the opioid epidemic, including the policy debate of medical marijuana’s advantages and disadvantages, particularly in comparison to prescribing opioids, and its ability to assist in opioid use disorder treatment. Next, it will turn to the research on how medical marijuana laws have potentially affected opioid related death rates across the country. Narrowing in on the pertinent issue, the research discussion will also cover how medical marijuana impacts OUD and OUD treatment. Finally, the paper discusses the lack of conclusive research available, the need for further research, and a possible route for Ohio to take as this topic and the understanding of it evolves. It is this paper’s hope that Ohio can provide another opportunity to prevent lives lost to opioids, contribute to the end of the epidemic, and promote future work and conversations on this topic.

In the state of Ohio, medical marijuana is offered as a treatment option for many different illnesses and disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, and Crohn’s disease. However, one condition missing from this list of syndromes that may legally use medical marijuana as a form of treatment is autism spectrum disorder. This paper aims to understand why autism spectrum disorder is not included in this list while also analyzing relevant present legislation such as House Bill 60 and Senate Bill 261. To answer these questions, this paper examines the benefits of treating autism with medical marijuana as well as the reasoning for why this treatment has been perceived so negatively.

Some first-year criminal law courses briefly discuss alternative punishments under the header of “scarlet letter” or “shaming” punishments. Beyond a brief discussion in class and a case or two in the casebook, students are left without a clear picture of how frequently judges engage with these forms of alternative sentencing. This paper provides an overview of shaming punishments in Ohio. While it may not account for all instances of shaming punishments that have been administered, or a complete list of the judges that engage with the practice, this paper shows that the practice is not an infrequent occurrence in Ohio. After providing a brief overview of the landscape of these punishments, this paper surveys how appellate level courts in other jurisdictions have handled challenges to shaming penalties. The piece then concludes by applying the majority approach using Ohio’s statutory code and posits that there are insufficient statutory grounds for the current practice.

People incarcerated in U.S. prisons are subject to strict disciplinary conduct rules. Like criminal convictions and their civil consequences, violations of these prison rules can result in long lasting, secondary effects in addition to immediate penalties. Even years or decades after a disciplinary infraction, prison officials and judges may withhold release or other favorable treatment from prisoners based on conduct records no longer (if ever) reflecting the character of that prisoner. In the context of federal law and U.S. Supreme Court doctrine granting broad deference to states in administering prison disciplinary systems, prisoners have little recourse for correcting past behavior.

This paper proposes a model regulation, the Model Institutional Record Expungement Act (MIREA), seeking to remedy this imbalance. Under the MIREA, prisoners can seek expungement of their prison discipline conduct records after one or three years, depending on the severity of the infraction. For those seeking parole, judicial clemency, or other avenues of relief, the MIREA provides a tool for limiting the secondary effects of violating often vague prison conduct rules. The MIREA provides a mechanism for limiting the harms of mass incarceration on the inside, adopting the logic and form of sealing and expungement processes available to many on the outside.

As inflation pushes the prices of goods higher and higher, the monetary thresholds that separate misdemeanor thefts from felony thefts deflate. This paper argues that deflated felony thresholds provide courts a unique opportunity to wade into what is typically “properly within the province of legislatures”: sentence proportionality. Because inflated thresholds are the result of a natural economic event, rather than legislative enactment, courts have more deference to find felony sentences disproportionate when the underlying theft would have constituted a misdemeanor absent inflation.

Demanding state regulatory schemes render the operation of cannabis businesses an expensive endeavor and create an urgent need for reliable sources of cash. Historically, the federal ban on cannabis has hindered the industry’s fundraising efforts, but larger cannabis companies have begun to make inroads toward friendlier deals with manageable interest rates. This progress has not extended to smaller cannabis businesses, which has prevented many from effectively competing and contributed to a wave of intense industry consolidation around the largest companies in 2021. This paper explores this fundraising disparity and its policy implications. Proposed solutions at the state and federal level are also evaluated along with an overview of the limited fundraising options which are currently available to small cannabis businesses.

Although most professional sport leagues amongst the Big Four (National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and National Hockey League) have restrictions on athletes’ use of cannabis, many professional athletes have spoken out about turning to cannabis as relief for the chronic pain caused by playing professional sports. This paper explores how as a result of cannabis being wrongly classified as a Schedule I drug on the Controlled Substances Act, professional leagues followed suit restricting cannabis use and leaving athletes with rigid marijuana testing policies and an overuse of prescription painkillers. This paper then analyzes the medicinal benefits of marijuana use for professional athletes, and subsequently argues for further use of cannabis in professional sports in the United States.

The relationship between cannabis and federal law has never been an amicable one. However, the recent slew of state legislation legalizing cannabis (whether medical or adult-use) across the country has made things even messier at the federal level. Although the federal government has attempted over the years (somewhat) to take up a policy of non-enforcement relative to states where cannabis is legalized, it is still a Schedule I drug in the United States under the Federal Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (the “CSA”). This has various implications for legal cannabis businesses nationwide, but they aren’t the only ones effected by this classification – although they may be taking the brunt of those effects. Retaining this classification for a drug that is legal at the state level has caused unintended issues in the context of its intersection with other federal legislation and codes, and the financial services that cannabis businesses need to survive. Many entities who do business with legal cannabis enterprises are putting the well-being of their own business on the line, creating a chilling effect on financial institutions transacting with state legal cannabis businesses. This paper will examine cannabis’s continued classification as a Schedule 1 drug, and how this classification adversely affects financial advisory industries that are essential to any successful business – not just a cannabis business. Specifically, this paper will scrutinize the effects of the liabilities indirectly created by the Schedule 1 classification of cannabis on financial institutions participating in the industry, as well as the secondary consequences of these effects on cannabis businesses themselves and their consumers. Additionally, this paper will look forward to potential solutions, including one that is already in motion, that could rectify some of these major issues for a quickly growing (no pun intended) industry in the United States.

Proponents of drug decriminalization typically emphasize the reform’s utilitarian potential to reverse mass incarceration trends, reduce racial disparities within the justice system, and minimize the economic costs associated with drug enforcement. However, decriminalization has an additional, underappreciated potential to shift drug war-centered policing practices. This article details how recent decriminalization legislation in New York, Oregon, and Colorado limits police authority to expand stops, conduct searches and make arrests for drug possession. It also describes how drug decriminalization reduces police department incentives to conduct pretextual stops and militarize its personnel and divisions. Thus, drug decriminalization should also be understood as a vital tool in limiting intrusive policing practices. Including this perspective amongst the arguments for drug decriminalization strengthens the potential for substantive reform and may increase support for further legislation.

Civil asset forfeiture, a longtime practice in U.S. law enforcement, allows the government to seize any individual property allegedly connected with a crime. In its modern form, the stated aim has been to take down drug kingpins by forfeiting assets connected to large-scale drug rings. However, especially in the context of cannabis, the result has been the forfeiture of billions of dollars--much of which is never ultimately linked to criminal charges—in small increments from individual people. Of particular concern is the starkly disproportionate effect of civil forfeiture on people of color--most notably in Black and Latino communities. Further, the legal landscape allows the majority of seized assets, often cash, to flow directly to police departments across the country, creating a perverse incentive for law enforcement to utilize the practice as often as possible. This paper provides an overview of the machinations of civil forfeiture laws in the United States, as well as historical context for civil forfeiture over the past several decades. It then discusses the interaction between cannabis and civil forfeiture, paying particular attention to industry concerns, and provides several recommendations and policy reforms.

Federal laws prohibiting the possession, production, and use of Cannabis create significant operational challenges for state-compliant Cannabis companies. One of the largest challenges is acquiring the initial capital required for any new business to become self-sustaining and profitable. Without traditional sources of capital, namely credit from commercial institutions or government lenders, only individuals with access to significant private funds can become entrepreneurs in this burgeoning industry. In the face of Federal inaction to solve this well-documented problem, States can, and should, take on a leading role. This Paper explores existing federal programs for traditional agricultural lending and suggests how states can emulate these programs for Cannabis businesses within their jurisdictions.

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.

When Congress criminalized marijuana as part of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, it appointed a commission to recommend marijuana's permanent legal status; the Commission recommended it be decriminalized, recognizing that total prohibition would likely be counterproductive in light of the minimal risks to marijuana users. Because of this, marijuana never should have been criminalized in the United States. Thus, states and the federal government should enact social equity programs along with legalization to begin fixing the problems created by criminalization.

Countless lives were ruined by marijuana arrests and convictions from direct consequences, such as imprisonment or fines, and the numerous collateral consequences that follow. Putting aside the formal collateral consequences, the stigma from marijuana arrests or convictions also caused immense economic and other harm. To remedy the economic harms, jurisdictions should include social equity provisions in their legislation, such as supporting those harmed by the war on marijuana in participating in the newly regulated market and using tax revenue or other funds to invest in harmed communities. Marijuana convictions should be automatically expunged, and people incarcerated for marijuana crimes should be immediately released to remedy the carceral harm upon legalization; these remedies should apply to all marijuana convictions, whether a felony a misdemeanor.

As medical marijuana usage continues to grow, coverage options under federal and private health insurance schemes have wilted away. Despite the expanding list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, patients seeking coverage under Medicare, Medicaid, or other governmental health insurance programs are consistently denied funding under these plans. Instead, patients are forced to either rely on “traditional pharmaceuticals” or incur the out-of-pocket expenses for medical marijuana. However, by expanding health insurance coverage to include medical marijuana, medical treatment options would expand, and the government would experience significant cost savings. This Paper examines the benefits to expanding Medicare and Medicaid coverage to encompass medical marijuana and suggests possible solutions for implementation.

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.

While bans on marijuana have been eliminated in a majority of states over the past several years, Ohio continues to be stuck in the past with a limited medical program that imposes strict limitations on cultivators, dispensaries and patients. Full legalization in Michigan and Illinois have been hugely successful, but Ohio’s timid approach has had mixed results due to overregulation and outdated ideas about cannabis users. It is time for Ohio to move boldly on drug reform in the cannabis space with full legalization, eliminating excessive regulation, creating aggressive criminal justice reform and possibly legalizing other substances before it is left behind by its neighbors.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused increased drug use and a widespread decline in mental health throughout American society. Yet, despite the unprecedented pandemic, society as a whole has shown an impressive ability to adapt to new ways of living, suggesting that a dramatically different version of America is not only possible, but achievable. Domestic drug policy, which has needlessly prohibited and criminalized a vast array of drugs since the early 1900s, is an area ripe for a similar dramatic change. This paper explores how the pandemic, combined with concurrent events including a change in Federal Administration and nationwide protests against systemic racism, presents an opportunity for our country to rethink its long-standing drug prohibition on a national scale.

The public perception of psychedelic substances has become considerably more favorable in recent years. This shift can be seen in decriminalization measures passed in several U.S. cities as well as Oregon’s commitment to establish a state-licensed psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy program. These dramatic developments beg the question: Why now? Three particular aspects of psychedelic drugs have shaped the public response to them in the modern era: the established medical potential of psychedelics, the shift in media treatment of these substances, and their “entheogenic,” or spirituality-inducing, properties. This paper examines these three factors historically. Additionally, this paper relates ayahuasca specifically to each of the three areas. Ayahuasca is a useful case study due to its intense psychoactive effects, its onetime popularization, and its longer history of ritualistic, shamanic use.

In 2012, Colorado was among the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use, coming only second to Washington by four days. However, Colorado was the first state to begin selling recreationally. Thus, interested parties immediately began looking to Colorado’s experiment to help determine what exactly happens when a state begins regulating marijuana like alcohol. Any major policy change will have many wide-ranging effects.

This paper will examine a variety of those effects, including the effects on crime, use of other illicit drugs, policing, health, and economic effects. The effects on crime are not clear because there are conflicting reports showing crime has gone down, but others show a neutral effect on crime. Legalization does not seem to affect clearance rates of crimes, as proponents often argue it would. It is not yet clear whether marijuana legalization lowers opioid overdose deaths, though researchers would expect that some opioid users would use marijuana instead. Additionally, legalization appears to have little to no effect on traffic accidents and fatalities. Legalization also added a substantial amount of new jobs to Colorado’s economy and brings in substantial revenue with Colorado’s high tax rate on marijuana sales.

Marijuana is still federally illegal, being a schedule I drug along with heroin, but states have pushed forward with little to no interference from the federal government. Colorado has paved the way by showing that legalization can, at the very least, bring in much-needed revenue via taxes. By being aware of the possible effects of legalization, state lawmakers and citizens can be better informed to make decisions for their own states. Additionally, the federal government can look to Colorado as an experiment that it can then learn from to better decide whether to make any changes at the federal level. Given that Pew polls show around two thirds of Americans favor legalization, a close look at the consequences of such a policy is warranted.

This paper examines the recent developments made in psychedelic-related drug policy in the United States. The paper gives an overview of the decriminalization efforts made at the state and local levels. The paper also looks at the historical, cultural, political, and public health factors that have shaped psychedelic policy throughout American history and into the current day. Lastly, the paper shares some concerns about discrimination and unequal access present in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

In a healthcare landscape that routinely ignores women’s pain, many women turn to cannabis to manage their otherwise debilitating chronic pelvic pain caused by conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome. This paper explores how the Controlled Substances Act wrongly characterized cannabis as having “no medicinal value” and the effects this federal illegality still has on women seeking alternative pain management therapies for chronic pelvic pain. Additionally, this paper explains why and how cannabis helps relieve such pain through discussing the effects of cannabinoids like THC and CBD on the body’s inflammatory response and the body’s endocannabinoid system. Women, as the leading consumers in our society, have expressed a need and a desire for products that provide relief from chronic pelvic pain and increase sexual pleasure. The 2018 Farm Bill opened the doors to CBD businesses looking to break into the women’s sexual and reproductive wellness market. The market for women-centric CBD pain relief and sexual enjoyment is far from saturated, and this paper encourages those in the CBD industry (or those looking to enter the industry) to take note.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation legalizing adult possession and use of marijuana. Of those twelve jurisdictions, only eight of those jurisdictions have active markets where the substance can be legally bought and sold, and each imposes a different taxation scheme on the flow of marijuana goods in the marketplace. This paper analyzes each tax base and then proposes a bifurcated recreational marijuana tax scheme for states that are currently thinking about legalization: (i) tax flower, bud, and trim based on weight; and (ii) tax concentrates, edibles, oils, and other “distilled” marijuana products based on potency, currently measured by THC content. The idea behind taxing by potency is two-fold: first, the state may pursue public health goals by nudging consumers away from high-potency forms of marijuana – and prevent producers from gravitating even more strongly toward high-potency goods; second, taxing by potency may help normalize the recreational use of marijuana by encouraging society to treat marijuana more like other legal drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes. While no tax scheme is perfect, a hybrid weight/potency base combined with a sunset provision to allow further research on the area appears to be the ideal way to regulate marijuana at this moment in time.

This paper compares the foundations of the Christiania commune in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the origins of the United States war on drugs, both phenomena of the anti-hippie sentiment of the 1970s. While the Danish took a relatively lax approach to the commune’s cannabis-related activities, in the U.S. crackdowns were widespread and disproportionately impacted people of color. Today, Christiania remains the focal point of the Danish cannabis trade, while the United States has become a patchwork of varying state-level permissive regimes fundamentally in conflict with federal prohibition. How both countries’ relationships with cannabis will continue to develop ultimately depends on the political will of those in power.

This article covers two substances that are becoming particularly prevalent in consumer markets across the country, Delta-8 THC and kratom. It introduces each substance and provides an analysis of the legal landscape that each substance currently faces in the United States, including an overview of relevant statutory law and regulatory efforts at both the federal and state level. Finally, the article provides policy concerns that legislatures and regulatory agencies should take into consideration when approaching the regulation of these substances, as well as, other novel substances that share similar qualities.

America is currently experiencing an economic recession plagued with high unemployment and low economic output. The Alliance for Sensible Markets and other proponents of cannabis legalization think that the cannabis industry can be extremely helpful in recovery through an interstate cannabis commerce plan. This plan could potentially pump in immediate waves of investment and create thousands of jobs. The plan lays out two steps: (1) have at least two states enter into an interstate compact for cannabis and (2) obtain congressional approval for the interstate compact. This article will look at the trends of a few states; speak about the benefits of the plan; touch on the consequences; and talk about the chances of this plan working, especially with the 2020 election approaching. Additionally, the article will tackle questions that face the plan if those two steps are met, such as questions on banking laws, tax laws, and whether psychoactive cannabis will be regulated as a commodity crop or if states will maintain their own existing regulatory framework.

The COVID-19 pandemic, while detrimental to the American economy as a whole, positively impacted the cannabis industry in many ways. This paper examines how the pandemic changed the medical cannabis industries in three states where medical cannabis programs were recently implemented -- Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. In all three states, cannabis dispensaries were declared essential businesses and have remained in operation throughout the pandemic. Due to the necessities of social distancing and minimizing contact, the medical cannabis programs in these states implemented new, innovative measures such curbside pickup, online ordering technology, drive-thru windows, delivery systems, and telehealth consultations. Additionally, some states loosened restrictions on supply limits and caregiver registration, making medical cannabis more accessible to patients. This paper suggests that many of these changes should remain permanent after the pandemic ends because they have modernized and, in some cases, legitimized, the cannabis industries in these states.

Although illegal under federal law, states have increasingly pushed the cannabis legality boundary by legalizing the use of recreational and medicinal marijuana at the state level. In the space between diverging federal and state law, such actions have created a dire situation for employees; employees in states that have legalized the use of marijuana can be fired for arguably legal conduct. Legalization of hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) products increase the risk of termination and litigation for employees and employers. State legalization is not what it purports it to mean. This paper examines the current legal framework of cannabis regulation, discusses the historical, legal precedent of an employer’s right to terminate an employee in contrast to recent case law providing protection and hope to employees, and analyzes why some employers have stopped marijuana drug testing in response to faulty testing and diminished applicant pools. Ultimately, this paper argues that, absent federal legalization of marijuana, states must protect employees’ off-duty marijuana use through express state legislation. Legalization cannot be fully actualized until employees can use marijuana without employment repercussions.

In today’s world, individuals are surrounded by marketing and advertisements. The alcohol and tobacco industries have long faced advertising restrictions, and now cannabis businesses are beginning to see similar restrictions. Unlike other industries, cannabis is still illegal under federal law which creates confusing restrictions for companies who are located in states where medical or adult-use cannabis is legal. This split in ideology between the federal and state governments, along with the confusing state regulations written more for policymakers than industry workers, has set a crash course for cannabis. This paper will examine several marketing areas where the cannabis industry is currently facing strict regulations, such as billboards, social media, and text messaging, as well as the public policy aspects that have influenced the rules on cannabis advertisements. The paper also focuses on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the current rise of class actions associated with text-message marketing in the cannabis industry. The primary goal of this article is to discuss the current regulations for cannabis advertising and why these regulations are hurting the growing cannabis industry.

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.

If the right to freely exercise one’s religion only exists within the confines of all other enacted law, then it is hardly a right at all. This article argues that strict scrutiny should be the test for adjudicating free exercise claims, which would then allow for the religious use of psychedelic drugs. First, this article explores developments in Free Exercise Clause jurisprudence during the twentieth century by analyzing how the Supreme Court gradually weakened the free exercise right, particularly in cases relating to Native American religions, and culminating in Employment Division v. Smith. This article lays out reasons for overturning Smith and returning to the pre-Smith strict scrutiny test for free exercise claims. Finally, this article contends that, under strict scrutiny, no court could reasonably find a compelling government interest to justify a prohibition of religious psychedelic drug use. This argument is substantiated with support from modern RFRA cases, as well as prevailing research regarding the positive impact psychedelics have on mental health, which would undermine a state’s purported compelling interest in forbidding its use.

In November 2020, the people of the State of Oregon spoke loudly and clearly by passing Ballot Measure 110, decriminalizing possession of small amounts of narcotics across the board, from cocaine to heroin to methamphetamine. As a state with a recent, large increase in overdose deaths, Oregon now stands at the forefront of the U.S. decriminalization effort, setting an example for, or becoming an outcast among, its sister states. While only time will tell the long-term implications of this pioneering initiative, such legislation has long been sought by doctors, care specialists, and legal professionals across the United States as a compassion-driven step toward reversing the consequences of a lost war on drugs. By focusing on ending the cycle of addiction among narcotic users, rather than penalizing and ostracizing those trapped in said cycle, its supporters have high hopes for greatly reducing drug addiction and overdose deaths, ending the mass incarceration of narcotics-addicted individuals, and terminating the illicit drug trade by refocusing attention on those who perpetuate the narcotics black market. From the criminal justice system, to mental health and addiction support, and to broader sociological and political understandings, the effects of Oregon’s initiative will almost certainly be vast and far-reaching, likely changing forever how the U.S. government, its institutions, and its citizens view drug use and addiction.


We can begin to grasp the amplitude of Ballot Measure 110 by looking to Oregon’s specific drug problems and how the measure could solve them. The purpose of this article is to provide a bird’s-eye view of Oregon’s new model by exploring two interrelated topics. First, I provide an in-depth explanation of the Measure’s intent and purpose, analyzing its language, original objective, and  subsequent developments to comprehend exactly what Oregonians voted for and what can be expected. Second, I offer a brief presentation of one Oregon-specific problem, methamphetamine addiction, and how the initiative could change meth use, enforcement, and criminalization. In doing so, I hope to expound upon potential future implications of the Oregon measure as a whole, with the hope of imparting some idea of decriminalization’s future in the Beaver State. 

As marijuana is quickly gaining legal status in an increasing number of states throughout the United States, states are faced with choices to make about how they will regulate the industry. One aspect of the regulatory scheme that states must implement is how they will allow businesses to be structured, specifically with regards to vertical integration. Vertical integration is a business structure where a company controls more than one aspect of a business, such as maintaining control over their suppliers, distributors, and retail locations. This allows companies to reduce overhead and reduce costs. Some states mandate that marijuana businesses must be completely integrated, controlling the business from “seed to sale,” others allow vertical integration but do not require it, and some states prohibit vertical integration. This paper will explore vertical integration and how it currently exists in the cannabis industry, detail current trends in state regulations regarding vertical integration, and evaluate policy considerations for the various regulatory approaches.

The use of private prisons in the United States to house federal and state inmates has added a voice to sentencing practice. This voice is unnecessary and should not exist as a concern in sentencing law and policy. Private prisons affect sentencing at the policy level through lobbying, networking, and by influence over judges’ sentencing decisions in individual cases. These methods of influencing sentencing are not always blatant, but they do exist. The United States should end the use of private prisons or adopt a hybrid model similar to that used in Europe to help quiet this unnecessary voice. However, eliminating the use of private prisons will not end the United States’ mass incarceration problem. Policy makers must address other causes of mass incarceration along with ending the use of private prisons. This paper will explore the history of private prisons in the United States, how private prisons influence sentencing, and potential solutions to end or improve the use of private prisons, while addressing the larger causes of mass incarceration. The suggested solution explored at the end of this paper is for the United States to develop and implement a hybrid model similar to that used in France, which eliminates completely private prisons, but still uses some private entities in the prison system. Eliminating private interests from the prison system entirely is unrealistic and unlikely given their long history of presence in the United States criminal justice system.

Cannabis companies in the United States operate in a shadowed area of the law where state and federal laws frequently change and often conflict. Cannabis attorneys, who advise cannabis companies in ways similar to other corporate attorneys, must also traverse this grey space. For cannabis attorneys, it is critical to discern whether an action taken by the attorney in furtherance of the cannabis company’s business runs afoul of the rules of professional conduct, which govern attorneys in the United States. Until cannabis is reclassified under the Controlled Substances Act or Congress passes legislation immunizing cannabis attorneys, there will always be some level of risk inherent in an attorney’s representation of cannabis clients. Until this time comes, attorneys should protect themselves by adopting procedures to define the scope of representation, monitoring clients’ business affairs, reevaluating the nature of representation as laws change, and informing clients about conflicts, risks, and implications of operating a cannabis company, and carefully documenting these warnings.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution codified the preexisting right to keep and bear arms, meaning the right was enshrined within the scope it was understood to have at its inception. When enacted, the Second Amendment broadly protected the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, only restricting gun ownership for certain classes of people, such as the mentally ill or felons. However, these historical restrictions never encompassed marijuana users or possessors. Quite the opposite, many of the founding fathers grew or manufactured cannabis themselves. Despite this discrepancy, the Federal Government enacted §922(g) in the Gun Control Act prohibiting gun owners and applicants who are medical marijuana patients from owning or possessing a firearm. Further, such individuals must voluntarily disclose their medical marijuana use to the government, restricting their right to keep and bear arms and implicating the Fifth Amendment’s Privilege Against Self-Incrimination. This paper will explore the consequences of the enactment and continued enforcement of §922 against an individual’s right to keep and bear arms while possessing or using medical marijuana in accordance with their state’s medical programs.

Although illegal under federal law, states have increasingly pushed the cannabis legality boundary by legalizing the use of recreational and medicinal marijuana at the state level. In the space between diverging federal and state law, such actions have created a dire situation for employees; employees in states that have legalized the use of marijuana can be fired for arguably legal conduct. Legalization of hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) products increase the risk of termination and litigation for employees and employers. State legalization is not what it purports it to mean. This paper examines the current legal framework of cannabis regulation, discusses the historical, legal precedent of an employer’s right to terminate an employee in contrast to recent case law providing protection and hope to employees, and analyzes why some employers have stopped marijuana drug testing in response to faulty testing and diminished applicant pools. Ultimately, this paper argues that, absent federal legalization of marijuana, states must protect employees’ off-duty marijuana use through express state legislation. Legalization cannot be fully actualized until employees can use marijuana without employment repercussions.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation legalizing adult possession and use of marijuana. Of those twelve jurisdictions, only eight of those jurisdictions have active markets where the substance can be legally bought and sold, and each imposes a different taxation scheme on the flow of marijuana goods in the marketplace. This paper analyzes each tax base and then proposes a bifurcated recreational marijuana tax scheme for states that are currently thinking about legalization: (i) tax flower, bud, and trim based on weight; and (ii) tax concentrates, edibles, oils, and other “distilled” marijuana products based on potency, currently measured by THC content. The idea behind taxing by potency is two-fold: first, the state may pursue public health goals by nudging consumers away from high-potency forms of marijuana – and prevent producers from gravitating even more strongly toward high-potency goods; second, taxing by potency may help normalize the recreational use of marijuana by encouraging society to treat marijuana more like other legal drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes. While no tax scheme is perfect, a hybrid weight/potency base combined with a sunset provision to allow further research on the area appears to be the ideal way to regulate marijuana at this moment in time.

Reefer Madness is often credited for spreading anti-marijuana sentiment across the country. Could modern movies depicting marijuana have the opposite effect? This paper asks whether film can influence our opinions on marijuana use and legalization. If movies do have a persuasive effect, the marijuana industry may seek to utilize film as a way to build public support. One method for doing so would be product placement. This paper discusses potential strategies the industry could use to implement product placement, as well as the legal and industry barriers that could prevent or minimize the industry’s ability to engage in the practice. However, a measured approach to product placement could be a viable persuasive tool for the industry.

Regardless of whether you are a commercial truck driver performing a job, a patient driving to get her medicine, or a citizen who just recreationally enjoys marijuana, the rules surrounding the transportation of marijuana are important. California became the first state to legalize the medical use of marijuana in 1996, and the prevalence of medical and recreational marijuana legalization has only expanded since then. At this point, some product or chemical compound from the cannabis plant is virtually everywhere in the United States, yet the transportation of these products has not been comprehensively debated by the public, let alone legislated. This article is focused on exploring the unique legal landscape surrounding the transportation of marijuana, hemp, and cannabidiol (CBD) from both a business and individual perspective. By showcasing examples of how businesses and individuals have been impacted by the unclarity in this area, the goal is to convey that nothing about transporting these products is risk-free and that there is unnecessary conflict between state and federal law.

Between 70 and 100 million adults have a criminal record of some kind that are revealed by criminal background checks. One of the most severe and pervasive collateral consequences is difficulty securing gainful employment. Ban-the-Box reform is crucial as a starting point for fair chance hiring, especially in the age of rapidly developing technology and the largely unfettered ability to get information. The availability of criminal records has functioned less as a “public safety” precaution and more like a scarlet letter branded on the chest of millions Americans. Demanding unnecessary disclose of criminal records before a conditional job offer hinders reintegration, increases recidivism, jeopardizes public safety, sabotages the economy, affronts human dignity, and causes devastating harm to society overall. This paper argues that Ban-the-Box laws should be expanded and made uniform across jurisdictions to help prevent against unjust discrimination based on criminal record. The vast differences in the levels of protection provided across Ban-the-Box jurisdictions and their shortcomings are analyzed and model Ban-the-Box legislation that incorporates concepts from the most protective existing laws is proposed.

Reforming sentencing and reducing prison overcrowding requires a focus on the future to ensure just punishments and the past to re-evaluate harsh punishments from the ‘tough on crime’ era. This paper focuses on ending those past wrongs. Executive clemency is sometimes discussed as a method for addressing harsh punishments, but there are only so many governors and Presidents. This paper proposes amending the Ohio Constitution to grant the elected county prosecutors a commutation power subject to veto by the governor. This would decentralize clemency and create a new, potentially system-reshaping tool to address harsh sentences and empower reform-minded prosecutors. The paper additionally discusses other methods to expand clemency and favors adopting the novel constitutional amendment in addition to other reforms for maximum impact.

Theft and possession of a controlled substance are similar in that both fall into the narrow category of crimes which can be quantified through an objective monetary metric. The value of the goods or services stolen for theft and the value of the controlled substance possessed for possession. Ohio uses the value metric to define their theft sentencing structure but ignores it for purposes of their possession structure. The possession structure instead utilizes a complicated system comprised of controlled substance categorization followed by a weight and unit dose metric to output punishment severity. This complicated structure inherently leads to decreased consistency which is unnecessary given the availability of a value metric, like the one used for the analogous crime of theft. This paper argues that Ohio should take an Occam’s razor approach to possession by utilizing the value-based structure of theft to create a similar structure for possession in order to decrease ambiguity and promote greater consistency in sentencing.

The Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment has long been ignored relative to other criminal sentencing protections provided by the Constitution. But the Excessive Fines Clause finally enjoyed renewed attention after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Timbs v. Indiana, where the Court unanimously incorporated the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause protections against the states. Timbs was celebrated as a watershed victory for criminal defendants, but in reality the Court’s decision leaves much to be desired in combatting abusive fines and forfeitures. Timbs fails to provide any clarity on how exactly lower courts should determine whether a fine is “excessive,” continuing to leave that question for lower courts to puzzle over with mixed results. This Essay examines the Supreme Court’s line of Excessive Fines Clause cases leading up to Timbs, the various approaches federal and state appellate courts have adopted to determine “excessiveness,” and ultimately advocates for an approach that links “excessiveness” to an individualized consideration of the means of a criminal defendant at sentencing. This individualized approach best squares with both basic rationales of punishment theory and the original understanding of the Excessive Fines Clause.

The intersection between marijuana and parenting is both highly controversial and largely unexplored. Despite the trend of legalization (medicinal and recreational) across the country, there is a widening discrepancy between criminal laws and child welfare policies. Even in states where marijuana is recreationally legal, a parent might still be charged with child abuse or neglect as a result of his or her marijuana use. Although second-hand marijuana smoke has proven to be a relatively low risk of harm to children, other areas of concern have not been adequately studied, such as the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding. Despite the lack of reliable scientific studies on the impact of ingestion by children, some initial studies have shown a marked increase in frequency of accidental ingestions and resulting hospital treatment in states that have legalized marijuana. The palatability and attractiveness of “edibles” is likely the cause of this measurable and dramatic increase. Overall, parental marijuana use has been inadequately studied by science, but some reliable data is available which could be used overhaul existing children’s services policies.

In America, professional sports carry significant importance. This billion-dollar industry is largely controlled by four professional leagues - the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL) - together known as “the big four.” Currently, each league has player conduct rules aimed at preventing the use of marijuana. This paper analyzes the marijuana-related policies of each league and goes on to suggest that these regulations must be revised to allow for marijuana usage. I argue that the historical misconceptions of marijuana; the outdated, illogical reasons for its initial and continued prohibition in sports; the prevalence and positive public sentiment of marijuana in society today; the ineffectiveness of the leagues’ current policies; and the widespread use of life-threatening, team-prescribed drugs in every league require that these policies be updated. Subsequently, I discuss the potential medical benefits of marijuana for athletes. Lastly, based on my analysis, this paper predicts the immediate future of marijuana in the big four and details what I believe should happen in the future.

Marijuana has taken a long journey through the court of public opinion; from condemned fringe use in minority communities and by jazz musicians through the 20s and 40s, to its heyday in the 60s and 70s era of Woodstock and Bob Dylan, only to be villainized again in the 80s and 90s. Today, the public perception of marijuana is dawning a new era of acceptance, in no small part thanks to its normalization in rap music and white America’s embrace of men like Calvin Broadus, also known as Snoop Doggy Dogg. Modern popular culture has slowly changed the public perception of recreational marijuana use and paved the way for legalization. Social scientists have been able to link the lyrics in popular music to the attitudes in popular opinion, and this paper will focus on the influence of hip hop, gangsta rap, the cult of celebrity, and Snoop Dogg himself on modern legalization efforts and cannabusiness.

This paper discusses how states that have legalized the recreational use of cannabis are struggling to subdue the black market. One of the goals of legalization was to defeat the black market and create a safer legal market for cannabis products. However, the black market still persists today, and in many states, it is actually dominating the legal market. This paper analyzes several reasons why consumers choose the black market, and it discusses several advantages black-market producers have over the legal market. Finally, this paper offers several possible solutions to this problem, such as working with the black market and decreasing barriers to entry in the legal market.

As states across the country continue to legalize marijuana, in medical or recreational form, a new legal market is forming. As more and more companies begin to profit off the legalization of marijuana it begs the question: who is reaping the economic benefits of legalization? Following decades of the War of Drugs, minority communities have been particularly devastated. Consequently, states who have legalized marijuana both recreationally and medically have a duty to ensure equal access for the minority communities who were disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs. This paper examines social equity regimes throughout the country and how states have attempted to induce minority participation in the marijuana industry. It analyzes the arguments for and against social equity regimes. The primary goal of this article is to address the arguments against social equity regimes in the marijuana industry, and induce states to implement common sense, economical regimes that give equal and just opportunities to those in the minority community.

Taxes implicate nearly every area of business. The recent marijuana boom has thrust one tax code provision into the spotlight. IRC § 280E prohibits tax deductions and credits for expenses paid or incurred in the trafficking of Schedule I or II controlled substances. This increases tax liability for marijuana businesses who commonly refer to the provision as an “industry killer.” This paper intentionally goes against the grain to show how IRC § 280E is not the “industry killer” it is portrayed to be and explores ways in which slow growth may be marijuana’s best path forward. The argument in favor of IRC § 280E is made by explaining the provisions’ development and legal framework before applying it to the marijuana industry. Next, IRC § 280E must be contextualized within the marijuana industry’s rapid growth and the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Lastly, the Oregon example is used to exemplify how IRC § 280E is helping the industry by providing a check on cash flow and preventing prices from being driven down further through saturation.

Use of Cannabidiol (CBD) in the therapeutics industry has become increasingly popular in the last few years. CBD rode into public consciousness on the coattails of three booming consumer trends: the herbal supplement industry, the anxiety economy, and the growing legitimate cannabis industry. However, many uncertainties remain about the legality, safety, and quality of CBD. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp production throughout the US, thereby removing hemp-derived CBD from Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-regulation. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still stakes a claim on regulating dietary supplements and food additives containing CBD. The sudden legality of CBD, coupled with uncertainty as to its safety, quality, and effectiveness, means it is imperative for states to support research and impose sufficient regulatory oversight over CBD-infused products.

Approximately 30 percent of post-9/11 veterans have been diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Over half of U.S. veterans struggle with chronic pain, and approximately 22 veterans commit suicide every day in America. For veterans currently seeking medical treatment through Veteran Affairs (VA), 50 percent of PTSD patients cannot tolerate or do not adequately respond to existing treatments of opioids, anti-anxiety, and anti-depressant medications. While an overwhelming majority of veterans, about 83%, support the use medical marijuana, they remain unable to obtain their preferred course of treatment (or financial assistance for it) through the VA because the federal government prohibits VA health care providers from recommending MMJ.

This paper argues that veterans, especially those with PTSD, should be able to obtain a recommendation, and financial assistance, for medical marijuana from the VA. This is especially true in states with legal medical marijuana programs. Veterans have recently been calling on lawmakers to help them in their time of need as they battle hosts of ailments such as PTSD, chronic pain, and opioid addiction. The government's current policy, which has allowed thirty-three states to enact legal medical marijuana programs, yet does not allow veterans to obtain a MMJ recommendation from the VA, nor obtain financial assistance for this medication, is unacceptable. This paper calls on researchers to continue to enhance our understanding of MMJ's effects on PTSD, and for lawmakers to step up and do the right thing — to give the veterans the medicinal treatment that they want, need, and deserve for laying it all out on the line for our freedoms.

The cannabis industry remains a difficult space to navigate for Native Americans both because of the continued federal ban on cannabis and the extra layer of laws and regulations on tribal land, as well as the potential for continued stigma arising from their involvement in an industry that was until recently considered illegal at all levels of government. Because of the complex jurisdictional circumstances which arise within tribal land, tribes are left with pioneering strategies on implementing a successful cannabis business alone – whether that be growing, wholesaling, selling on tribal land, or all three. At the same time, Native American tribes have many competitive advantages – they have water rights and access to power, they own land, and they have a historical and cultural tie to cannabis and natural healing. This article discusses several short term and long term steps that Native American tribes should undertake once a state in which a tribe is located legalizes medical marijuana in order to ready themselves to take advantage of an economic opportunity in the form of a cannabis industry should it arise including gaining community support and amending tribal codes, establishing a compact and setting up protections from outside investors, and seek long term legislative fixes such as opt-out provisions in the CSA.

The ongoing battle between federal and state cannabis laws have created a perplexing realm of ambiguity for legislatures tasked with establishing drug policy. In the midst of this intricate conflict lies another issue that is wreaking havoc throughout the legalized cannabis marketplace. With federal and state governments failing to administer concrete guidance by virtue of lacking to establish policies which govern concurrently and in a harmonious manner, laws have been enforced on both the federal and state levels, that are negatively impacting various minority groups and their potential to capitalize on the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry. This article will examine the arguments for, and against, current and proposed legislation that impacts licensure for minority groups trying to enter the legalized cannabis marketplace. Particularly, this article will address the primary obstacles that most negatively affect minorities and the specific role that each barrier has played in preventing minority entrepreneurs from becoming business owners and seizing the opportunity to cash in on this new lucratively flourishing agricultural business that is taking the nation by storm. While not much research has been conducted on the topic of minority business owners obtaining licenses to operate in the legalized cannabis market, the primary goal of this article is to stimulate dialogue and encourage further research into the impact that legalizing cannabis is having on minority business owners trying to establish themselves as legitimate participants in this up-and-coming industry.

Starting in 1996 with the state of California legalizing the use of medical cannabis, the wave of cannabis legalization has continued at a rapid pace. But with the growth comes increased acknowledgment that the benefits and financial profits of the legal cannabis industry are not flowing to the communities that have been disproportionately harmed by past drug policies as enacted during the War on Drugs. The industry and government officials are increasingly facing calls to create social equity programs to address the past harms. But while the number of these programs is growing, very little has been written about what makes a given program effective. This report aims to fill this gap by introducing the Social Equity Assessment Tool, which localities can use not only to assess the effectiveness of their existing efforts but also to design a better functioning program for the future. The Social Equity Assessment Tool is a formula that accounts for ten components that are critical for successful social equity programs. The ten components are grouped into two categories – Accessibility (Eligibility, Application Process, Expungements, Preferential Licenses and Shareholder/Ownership Requirements) and Environment (Educational Services, Incubator Program, Zoning Regulations and License Caps, Government Responsiveness and Community Reinvestment). Accessibility encompasses components that affect the ease with which applicants can learn about and access a given program. Environment, on the other hand, encompasses factors that form a support structure for SEP applicants and their communities.

In 1975, Ohio’s 63rd Governor James A. Rhodes joined the growing trend of marijuana decriminalization by signing a bill passed by the legislature that supported amending the Ohio Revised Code to remove criminal penalties for use of marijuana. This was the first big change to marijuana laws in Ohio. Despite Ohio being one of the most conservative states in the country at the time, Rhodes brought Ohio to become the 6th state to relax punishments on marijuana use.

Since that time, a lot has changed regarding the status of cannabis in the Buckeye State. This paper will first describe the past legal framework for marijuana along with current developments and proposed changes in the future, including a citizen’s ballot initiative that will appear on the November 2019 ballot that could potentially make sweeping changes to Ohio’s Constitution and marijuana law in Ohio. This is then followed by an analysis of the potential benefits that recreational marijuana could have in respect to key fiscal budgetary issues facing the state of Ohio.

As cannabis prohibition comes to an end in the United States, federal and state governments must decide how to regulate its cultivation, distribution, and sales. One option, supported by some alcohol wholesalers and distributors, is a regulatory system based on that of the alcohol industry, whereby the government mandates a distribution system consisting of three mutually exclusive tiers: manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. This paper argues against creating a regulatory framework for the nascent adult-use cannabis industry modeled after the government-mandated, three-tier distribution system established for alcohol post-Prohibition as it inherently stifles innovation and quality. Essentially, the three-tier distribution system creates an unnatural layer of government-mandated middlemen, distributors and wholesalers, who perpetuate market inefficiencies that benefit them and large corporations to the detriment of consumers and small-to-medium-sized businesses. The beer industry, now dominated by two breweries offering largely undifferentiated products, provides a cautionary tale regarding the effects of the three-tier distribution system to those developing the regulatory structure for the adult-use cannabis industry.

The proliferation of legal marijuana foretells an uncertain future for businesses that implement zero-tolerance drug policies. In states where recreational marijuana is legal, businesses still have the power to enforce drug policies through employment contracts. That changed in Maine, where state law prohibits employers from making adverse employment decisions based solely on an employee’s off-duty use of marijuana. As legalization efforts sweep across the Midwest, it is unclear whether other states will follow Maine’s model. Some businesses have already relaxed pre employment marijuana testing amid labor shortages. To prepare for the future, employers should revise their drug policies to distinguish between on-duty and off-duty marijuana consumption and allow employees to use marijuana outside of the workplace.

Intellectual property is one of a company’s most valuable assets, at times deserving rigorous time and effort for proper protection. Companies rely on patent, trade secret, trademark and copyright laws to protect their intellectual property. For most businesses, this process is routine and a standard part of their ordinary course of business. Cannabis companies, unfortunately, have many obstacles to overcome to use some of these same protections, as cannabis is considered federally illegal, yet legalized in many states to varying degrees. Cannabis companies must, therefore, be innovative and nuanced in their strategies for protecting their proprietary business information such as patentable subject matter through the use of patents and trade secrets. The method of intellectual property protection is driven by the subject matter. Cannabis growers target specific plant types based on cannabidiol (“CBD”) and delta-9-tetrohydrocannabinol (“THC”) ratios and desired characteristics using specific method of extraction, all of which are patentable if legal elements are met. Unfortunately, while the cannabis industry is an emerging market with plenty of growth ahead of it, an ongoing Colorado court case involving liquids containing cannabinoids that could result in major negative ramifications for all involved in the cannabis industry.

Today, banking in any way relating to marijuana is a violation of federal law. Conflicting laws and guidance from the federal and state governments threatens the welfare and success of a billion-dollar industry. Analyzing the current marijuana banking laws, regulations, and practices in New York and around the US provides a glimpse into an industry suffocating from public pressures and overpowering economic tides. To protect and uphold the integrity of our government and the agencies it deems controlling, the federal government must reform marijuana banking.

While the idea of legalizing cannabis for adult use is gaining on acceptance among the public, the past and current policies on both, the state and federal level, have resulted in dearth of research on the efficacy of cannabis for therapeutic purposes as well as possible societal and health consequences of recreational use. Institutes of higher education are best positioned to not only reform research on the substance, but to train a generation of cultivators, distributors, and healthcare professionals, and while doing so address some of the historical harms perpetrated by the policies of the War on Drugs. Students are seeking out ways to capitalize on a growing market and remedying past discrimination should be a top priority. This paper first provides an overview of cannabis legalization as it stands today, the political efforts that got it here, and those that will move it forward. It then discusses institutes of higher education and the efforts to bring cannabis into the classroom. Lastly, this paper argues that Historically Black Colleges and Universities can provide education, training, and a foot in the door for Black individuals who have suffered harsher criminal penalties in the name of the war on crime.