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No Rational Basis: The Pragmatic Case for Marijuana Law Reform

37 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2009 Last revised: 1 Sep 2009

Eric D. Blumenson

Suffolk University Law School

Eva S. Nilsen

Boston University School of Law

Date Written: March 21, 2009

Abstract

This article presents a critique of marijuana prohibition and suggests some alternative regulatory approaches that would be more productive and consonant with justice. Part I relies on a forty-year empirical record to demonstrate that (1) reliance on a law enforcement approach has aggravated rather than mitigated the risks involved with marijuana use, and (2) criminalization, which results in the arrest of more than 700,000 Americans annually for possession of any amount of marijuana, is an inhumane and destructive response to an act that almost 100 million Americans have committed. Part II assesses the relative merits of several alternative reform policies, including both decriminalization and legalization under a regulatory scheme.

Keywords: criminal law, drug war, marijuana, public health, ONDCP

Suggested Citation

Blumenson, Eric D. and Nilsen, Eva S., No Rational Basis: The Pragmatic Case for Marijuana Law Reform (March 21, 2009). Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 09-19; Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, Vol. 17, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1366422

Eric Blumenson (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States
(617) 305-1967 (Phone)
(617) 305-3087 (Fax)

Eva S. Nilsen

Boston University School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-353-4255 (Phone)

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