Marijuana Legalization and Federalism

MON, SEP 19, 2016 (1:26:27)

The possession and use of marijuana have been illegal at the federal level since the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Many states initially followed suit with similar legislation. But over the past twenty years there has been an increasing number of challenges to marijuana prohibition.

Since 1996, when California legalized medical use of marijuana through Proposition 215, 23 other states have done the same despite federal law. Four of those states have legalized its recreational use as well. Opinion polls suggest a growing majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use.

The Constitution Day Committee welcomes Brannon Denning and Jonathan Adler to discuss significant questions regarding marijuana legalization and pertinent federalism issues. In discussing the current controversy over marijuana legalization, the forum will address a long-standing debate in American history: states’ vs. federal rights.

+ BIO: Jonathan Adler, J.D.

Jonathan H. Adler is Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law & Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where he teaches courses in environmental, administrative, and constitutional law. Professor Adler is the author or editor of four books on environmental policy and over a dozen book chapters. His articles have appeared in publications ranging from the Harvard Environmental Law Review and Supreme Court Economic Review to The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Professor Adler is a contributing editor to National Review Online and a regular contributor to the popular legal blog, "The Volokh Conspiracy." A 2007 study identified Professor Adler as the most cited legal academic in environmental law under age 40, and his recent article, "Money or Nothing: The Adverse Environmental Consequences of Uncompensated Law Use Controls," published in the Boston College Law Review, was selected as one of the ten best articles in land use and environmental law in 2008.

In 2004, Professor Adler received the Paul M. Bator Award, given annually by the Federalist Society for Law and Policy Studies to an academic under 40 for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and commitment to students. In 2007, the Case Western Reserve University Law Alumni Association awarded Professor Adler their annual "Distinguished Teacher Award." Professor Adler serves on the advisory board of the NFIB Legal Foundation, the academic advisory board of the Cato Supreme Court Review, and the Environmental Law Reporter and ELI Press Advisory Board of the Environmental Law Institute. A regular commentator on environmental and legal issues, he has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, ranging from the PBS "Newshour with Jim Lehrer" and NPR's "Talk of the Nation" to the Fox News Channel's "O'Reilly Factor" and "Entertainment Tonight."

Prior to joining the faculty at Case Western, Professor Adler clerked for the Honorable David B. Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. From 1991 to 2000, Professor Adler worked at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market research and advocacy group in Washington, D.C., where he directed CEI's environmental studies program. He holds a B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University and a J.D. summa cum laude from the George Mason University School of Law.

+ BIO: Brannon Denning, J.D.

Brannon P. Denning, J.D. has written on the commerce clause and the dormant commerce clause, judicial and executive branch appointments, the constitutional amendment process, foreign affairs and the U.S. Constitution, and on the Second Amendment. He collaborated with Boris I. Bittker, Sterling Professor Emeritus at Yale, on The Regulation of Interstate Commerce and Foreign Commerce (Aspen Law and Business 1999) and is sole author of the second edition. He also edited Gun Control and Gun Rights: A Reader and Guide (NYU Press, 2002), which addresses aspects of firearms regulation and is the only book of its kind designed for undergraduate use.

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