No Rational Basis: The Pragmatic Case for Marijuana Law Reform
37 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2009 Last revised: 1 Sep 2009
Date Written: March 21, 2009
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
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