Wildman Language and Silence: Wildman with Adrienne D.
This publication is provided for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as a legal opinion or as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.
Laws cited are current as of April 30, The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, a program of the Public Health Law Center, provides legal information and education about tobacco and health, but does not provide legal representation.
Readers with questions about the application of the law to specific facts are encouraged to consult legal counsel familiar with the laws of their jurisdictions. The author thanks Mark Meaney and Warren Ortland for their valuable editorial review.
Lessons from Tobacco Control for Marijuana Regulation Introduction The proliferation of state efforts to legalize the sale and use of marijuana has created challenges for both opponents and proponents of these measures.
Moved by stories of those whose suffering and seizures could be eased by the use of medical marijuana, and the economic and personal toll of arrest and incarceration due to marijuana possession, many jurisdictions have legalized, or are considering legalizing, medical and recreational use of marijuana.
Policymakers and public health professionals considering measures to relax prohibitions of this drug are struggling with a host of administrative and regulatory issues, many of which are familiar to the tobacco control community.
These issues include the need to restrict public use, prohibit youth access, develop robust licensing and zoning laws, and regulate the price, advertising and marketing of marijuana.
In addition, developing effective controls over production growth and distributiontrafficking, and a variety of other law enforcement issues may be especially problematic for marijuana regulation because of the differences in its treatment under state and federal laws.
Significantly, evidencebased policy solutions, which are at the heart of tobacco control, are not yet widely available in the marijuana regulatory regime. This synopsis presents a brief overview of regulatory issues related to marijuana legalization, looking at both medicinal and recreational use policies from a public health perspective.
It focuses on policy issues that are analogous to those faced in tobacco control and, drawing from lessons learned in the tobacco control realm, describes options that local and state governments might consider when developing marijuana regulations.
This is a growing industry and each jurisdiction has different regulatory systems and administrative structures to consider. Lessons from Tobacco Control for Marijuana Regulation Although marijuana and tobacco products differ in many ways — particularly in the health risks they pose — the strategies used to regulate these products are often similar, as are many of the regulatory obstacles they present.
The products are comparable in other ways as well. For instance, both tobacco and marijuana products can be ingested orally and smoked in a variety of forms.
Both products are widely trafficked. And both tobacco and marijuana products provide, or could provide, economic revenue to states and local communities through taxation.
The parallels could go even further. Some tobacco control advocates are concerned that a rapidly growing marijuana industry may come to resemble the tobacco industry. Invoters in Alaska,14 Oregon,15 and the District of Columbia16 followed suit by passing ballot initiatives to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, and in the cases of Alaska and Oregon, to regulate the sale of marijuana.
Because of the rise in the number of jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes and recreational use, as well as the proliferation of marijuana legislative proposals across the U.
Typically, in a direct conflict of laws, federal law preempts state law. Aware of the questions arising about federal preemption of state marijuana laws, the U. Lessons from Tobacco Control for Marijuana Regulation Department of Justice issued a memorandum to federal prosecutors on August 29,to clarify its position on the enforcement of marijuana laws.
Department of Justice has great leeway in choosing whether, and to what extent, to bring criminal prosecutions for violations of the Controlled Substances Act.
Washington and Colorado, for example, have removed all state-imposed penalties for qualified marijuana activities. Massachusetts, for instance, removes criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, but retains civil penalties.
The medical conditions for which marijuana can be prescribed vary by state. Lessons from Tobacco Control for Marijuana Regulation marijuana to those with appropriate referrals, and not exceeding allowable limits on amounts possessed, cultivated and used.
Some of the most important policy issues regarding medical marijuana include defining the universe of conditions for which a referral is medically indicated, creating a system for dispensing the drug, and developing and maintaining an active and up-to-date registry of approved patients and providers.
Regulatory Authority States with medical or recreational marijuana laws vary significantly in how much regulatory authority is delegated to local jurisdictions. Since marijuana is illegal under federal law, any regulation that allows for the use of the product needs to be developed and implemented at the state or local level.
Given the range of laws and preemptive strictures, as well as the evolving nature of many regulatory regimes, policymakers drafting marijuana regulations as with tobacco control regulations need to ensure that the state or local government in question has the legal authority to pass and enforce the laws.
An attorney with expertise in this area can provide needed guidance here. Public Health Issues Despite evidence of the benefits of medical marijuana for certain conditions, underlying public health concerns remain about its health risks.
Although the use of tobacco has far more adverse health effects than the use of marijuana,37 marijuana is not a risk-free drug.Included in the paper was a call for up to one ounce of cannabis to be decriminalized at the federal level.
We believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods. At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to.
"Public opinion, as revealed by the reaction of a substantial portion of the members of the jury called to try the charges on Dec. 16, , is not supportive of the state's marijuana law and appeared to prevent any conviction from being obtained simply because an unbiased jury did not appear available under any circumstances," according to the.
In nine of those states, marijuana is legal for adults 21 and older, while 13 have “decriminalized” simple possession of marijuana.
Most of the decriminalization states impose a civil fine, which avoids the life-altering collateral consequences a criminal record carries. Support for Marijuana Policy Reform: A Summary of State and. Cut to when the U.S.
government banned hemp over confusion about its relationship to marijuana, and the plant from which the paper for the The Declaration of .
The most frequently cited reasons for supporting the legalization of marijuana are its medicinal benefits (41%) and the belief that marijuana is no worse than other drugs (36%) –with many explicitly mentioning that they think it is no more dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes.
The Decriminalization of Marijuana: A reaction paper supporting the legalization of marijuana Decriminalization of Marijuana A very controversial drug in society today is marijuana. The controversy is mostly due to the myths that people have created about marijuana's effects.