Breaking the Federal-State Impasse Over Medical Marijuana: A Proposal

Posted: 9 May 2000


California's Proposition 215 legalizes the medical use of marijuana. Since its passage, the State of California and the federal government have been engaged in legal skirmishing over its implementation. In this article, Professor Cohen describes the current legal status of medical marijuana and the current scientific views about its efficacy for various medical purposes. She appeals to California's Governor Gray Davis to break the costly legal impasse between federal and state governments over medical marijuana. She proposes that the Governor support the scientific efforts needed to determine whether, and for what, marijuana is good medicine. Further, the Governor should negotiate with the federal government to obtain both adequate marijuana for those scientific efforts and the drug's reclassification, if found effective, to enable its pharmaceutical use. Once marijuana is either determined to have no medical benefits or is available as a pharmaceutical, and in return for federal cooperation, the Governor's Office should agree to seek the repeal of Proposition 215 as no longer necessary.

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Marsha N., Breaking the Federal-State Impasse Over Medical Marijuana: A Proposal. Available at SSRN:

Marsha N. Cohen (Contact Author)

UC Law, San Francisco ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States
(415) 565-4676 (Phone)
(415) 565-4865 (Fax)

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