The Future of Marijuana in the United States

18 Pages Posted: 31 May 2013 Last revised: 3 Sep 2013

Date Written: April 19, 2013


There are striking similarities in the failed movement to repeal marijuana prohibition in the 1970s and the efforts underway today. A major difference is that the merits of repeal are far clearer today than they were forty years ago. This article discusses some of the reasons why marijuana prohibition cannot be justified, including the myriad ways in which marijuana prohibition encourages serious crime against victims having no connection to marijuana. It explains the limited long-term value of decriminalization versus regulated legalization, which should be the ultimate objective of reformers. Possible treaty constraints on federal reforms are explored. The limitations and uncertainties inherent in the incompatibility of state-level permissiveness and federal prohibition are also addressed. Reformers are advised to intensify their efforts to replace prohibition with regulation at both state and federal levels.

Suggested Citation

Duke, Steven B., The Future of Marijuana in the United States (April 19, 2013). Oregon Law Review, Vol. 91, 2013; Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 299. Available at SSRN:

Steven B. Duke (Contact Author)

Yale Law School ( email )

127 Wall St.
New Haven, CT 06511
United States
203-4324959 (Phone)

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