Assessing the Status of Minors in Possession: Marijuana Versus Alcohol

57 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2022 Last revised: 15 Nov 2022

See all articles by Mitchell F. Crusto

Mitchell F. Crusto

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Jillian Morrison

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Laurel C. Taylor

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Date Written: August 29, 2022

Abstract

The legalization and decriminalization of marijuana at state level has an impact on adult use, as well as on use by minors. In many jurisdictions, minor use and possession of marijuana is regulated much like that of alcohol. This paper examines the statutory language of laws regulating possession of marijuana by minors across states in which marijuana is legalized, decriminalized, and illegal. From there, data was collected to look at the arrest rates for minors in three case study jurisdictions. The purpose of this comparison was to reveal how laws criminalizing minors in possession of marijuana are carried out as reflected in the arrest rates of reporting jurisdictions. Overall marijuana arrests for minors in possession decreased from 2018 to 2020 across every state case example provided. Additionally, based on the case examples provided in those states that decriminalized marijuana, arrests for juveniles were lower overall than those with legalized or illegal status. While further analysis is needed, the study found positive results, noting that states across the board appear to be decreasing arrest rates for marijuana possession, and more and more states are looking to alcohol violation statutes to craft their marijuana violation statutes for minors. Accordingly, the public shift in thinking about marijuana appears to be impacting the practicalities of drafting statutes and mandating arrests for the better: to create a less hostile approach with less punitive impact on minors.

Keywords: Marijuana reform, juvenile justice, minors in possession of alcohol, minors in possession of marijuana, juvenile arrest rates, alcohol violation statutes

Suggested Citation

Crusto, Mitchell F. and Morrison, Jillian and Taylor, Laurel C., Assessing the Status of Minors in Possession: Marijuana Versus Alcohol (August 29, 2022). Ohio State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 728, 2022, Ohio State University Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, August 2022, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Research Paper No. 2022-18, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4203910 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4203910

Mitchell F. Crusto (Contact Author)

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law ( email )

7214 St. Charles Ave.
Campus Box 901
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States
504-861-5743 (Phone)

Jillian Morrison

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law ( email )

7214 St. Charles Ave., Box 901
Campus Box 901
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States

Laurel C. Taylor

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

7214 St. Charles Ave., Box 901
Campus Box 901
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States

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