Marijuana, the straight dope: guidance for federal policy reform
Baker, Erik D.
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This thesis explores the increasingly popular push by states to decriminalize and legalize marijuana and the resulting problems that raise concern about maintaining the current federal marijuana policy. This thesis conducts an analysis of various policy options to resolve conflicts that arise between recently enacted state legislation and federal criminal statutes, U.S. compliance with international treaties, and public safety. Utilizing Bardach's eight-step method, this thesis compares three possibilities for policy recommendation. The first option is to maintain the status quo, or to continue a policy of relaxed federal enforcement. The second option is one of strict enforcement, essentially rolling back marijuana laws in the states and mandating compliance with current federal law. The third option is one of balancing the desires of the states while ensuring treaty compliance and public safety by rescheduling marijuana. The research shows that a rescheduling of marijuana, from Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act to Schedule III, would protect marijuana's access to those with a medical necessity while ensuring compliance with international counter-narcotics accords and enable the drug's availability for research purposes.
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