The eJournal is sponsored by the Environmental Law Center at the Vermont Law School, home to one of the nation's leading environmental law programs. Since establishing the Environmental Law Center in 1978, Vermont Law School has been training people to be environmental leaders in government, nonprofits, corporations, and private practice - locally, nationally, and internationally. With the largest and deepest graduate environmental law program in the country, the Environmental Law Center offers the most comprehensive environmental law and policy curriculum in the nation for law students, and also confers the Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP) and Master of Laws in Environmental Law (LLM) degrees, as well as a joint JD/MELP degree. The Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center is also home to the Institute for Energy and the Environment, Environmental Tax Policy Institute, Climate Legacy Initiative, Land Use Institute, Partnership for Environmental Law in China, and Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic.

Table of Contents

Weed and Water Law: Regulating Legal Marijuana

Ryan Boudin Stoa, Florida International University College of Law

The International Legal Regime for Sustainable Soil

Chilenye Nwapi, University of Calgary, University of British Columbia Faculty of Law
Temitope Elizabeth Alori, Landmark University

Sponsored by the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School

"Weed and Water Law: Regulating Legal Marijuana" 

RYAN BOUDIN STOA, Florida International University College of Law

As traditional doctrines of water law struggle to cope with the modern realities of water scarcity, marijuana is nearing the end of its prohibition in the United States. Arguably the country’s largest cash crop, marijuana is already legal for recreational use in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC. Between now and election day 2016, an additional 14 states may place marijuana legalization initiatives on their ballots. In addition, 23 states and Washington DC have legalized medical marijuana, with up to seven states pending legislation. The era of marijuana prohibition is rapidly coming to a close.

At the same time, traditional doctrines of water law are struggling to cope with widespread droughts. Administrative agencies lack capacities to monitor and enforce water rights in real-time amid rapidly changing conditions. As marijuana cultivation leaves the black market and enters state regulatory frameworks, legal doctrines and administrative agencies will need to adapt in order to balance existing water rights with the demands of marijuana production. Failure to do so will encourage producers to remain clandestine while perpetuating existing conflicts between legal and illegal water users. At present there is a gap in understanding the relationship between water rights and marijuana legalization, despite their rapid convergence.

This Article is the first to systematically address that gap. Part I begins by describing status quo marijuana production taking place outside the context of state water law doctrines. While marijuana can be grown sustainably, unregulated production often leads to illegal and destructive water practices affecting downstream rights holders. Parts II, III, and IV envision a legal marijuana market governed by the predominant doctrines of US water law: prior appropriation, riparianism, and mixed and tribal systems, respectively. Each system presents a unique set of legal and regulatory challenges, and for states like California, Colorado, and Oregon, these challenges are already evident. Part V concludes with recommendations for states in the process of legalization. While water laws will occasionally clash with a legal marijuana industry, this Article identifies opportunities to smooth the transition.

"The International Legal Regime for Sustainable Soil" Free Download
In Rhuks Ako & Damilola Olawuyi, eds, Food and Agricultural Law: Readings on Sustainable Agriculture and the Law in Nigeria (Ado-Ekiti (Nigeria): Afe Babalola University Press, 2015) 98-114

CHILENYE NWAPI, University of Calgary, University of British Columbia Faculty of Law

This chapter examines the existing international legal regime for the promotion of soil sustainability with a view to identifying gaps and deficiencies in the regime. It begins by setting out broadly the essential functions of soil and describes the current state of the world’s soil. It then explains the concept of sustainability in the context of soil before reviewing the international legal instruments, both soft and hard, governing the world’s soil. The paper makes a case for the creation of a freestanding international soil treaty and makes recommendation on what the contents of such a treaty should be in order to ensure the protection of the sustainability of the world’s soil.


About this eJournal

Sponsored by: Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School. This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts dealing with the regulation, management, and distribution of natural resources. The eJournal will discuss a diverse array of natural resource topics such as public and private land use, wildlife and biodiversity, forest protection, mineral rights, parks and wilderness, the public trust doctrine, water and wetlands, and tribal lands and resources.

Editor: Melissa K. Scanlan, Vermont Law School


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Natural Resources Law & Policy eJournal

Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law

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Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law

Professor of Law, University of California - Hastings College of the Law

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