Posts in Research Reports
Lessons Learned After 4 Years Of Marijuana Legalization. Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), 2016

In the wake of multimillion-dollar political campaigns funded with out-of-state money, Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana in November 2012. Though it would take more than a year to set up retail stores, personal use (in Colorado and Washington) and home cultivation (in Colorado, which includes giving away of up to six plants) were almost immediately legalized after the vote. Using marijuana in public, which remains illegal under these new laws, has increased conspicuously in both states. Also, a brandnew marijuana industry selling candies, cookies, waxes, sodas, and other marijuana items has exploded—and with it a powerful lobby to fight any sensible regulation. Though it is still early—the full effects on mental health and educational outcomes, for example, will take many more years to fully develop—these “experiments” in legalization and commercialization are not succeeding by any measure.

Additionally, as explained in greater detail below, the laws have had significant negative impacts on public health and safety, such as: • Rising rates of pot use by minors • Increasing arrest rates of minors, especially black and Hispanic children • Higher rates of traffic deaths from driving while high • More marijuana-related poisonings and hospitalizations • A persistent black market that may now involve increased Mexican cartel activity in Colorado

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A Wealth of Inequalities: Mass Incarceration, Employment, and Racial Disparities in U.S. Household Wealth, 1996 to 2011 by Bryan L. Sykes a Michelle Maroto, Russell Sage Foundation, 2016

Despite the strong relationship between the rise in mass incarceration over the last forty years and racial inequality in employment and wages, few studies have examined the long-term consequences and spillover effects of criminal justice contact on the black-white wealth gap in the United States. In this paper, we investigate the mechanisms whereby the local and distal incarceration of a family member affects household wealth, focusing on wealth disparities by race and education. Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the Current Population Survey, and the Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities and Local Jails, we apply fixed-effects and probit models to estimate how a family member’s incarceration influences household assets and debt over panel waves. We find that having an incarcerated family member reduced household assets by 64.3 percent and debt by 85.1 percent after we adjusted for the underrepresentation of institutionalization in SIPP data. We also discuss these findings in the context of broader racial disparities in wealth and employment. Our findings demonstrate how contemporary patterns of mass incarceration contribute to the maintenance of social inequality in wealth and form barriers to economic security for other household members.

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Equitable Cannabis Policy by Leslie Valencia, University of California Berkeley, The Greenlining Institute, 2017

The criminalization of the marijuana plant has had disparate impacts on communities of color in the United States for decades, but despite it still being considered an illegal substance at the federal level, states across the country have been increasingly passing measures to regulate the industry. Prior to 2016, 26 states and the District of Columbia had already legalized medical marijuana in some form, with the exception of three that had also legalized recreational cannabis. Washington and Colorado, however, were the only states that actually taxed and regulated both medical and recreational marijuana in 2012, revealing its economic potential. In 2016 alone, California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada passed measures to tax and regulate recreational marijuana, while Montana, Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota passed measures for medical cannabis. As states continue to regulate this growing and profitable market, it is crucial for local authorities to create new policies that aim to prevent any future discrimination associated with the industry. Because California is projected to be the largest and most profitable market in the country, it is important to consider the equity implications of this industry. In this paper, the city of Oakland’s Equity Permit Program is analyzed as a potential model of local equitable cannabis policy for other cities in California.

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Marijuana: A Short History by John Hudak, The Brookings Institution Press, 2016

From Reefer Madness to legal purchase at the corner store.With long-time legal and social barriers to marijuana falling across much of the United States, the time has come for an accessible and informative look at attitudes toward the dried byproduct ofCannabis sativa.Marijuana: A Short Historyprofiles the politics and policies concerning the five-leaf plant in the United States and around the world.Millions of Americans have used marijuana at some point in their lives, yet it remains a substance shrouded by myth, misinformation, and mystery. This book offers an up-to-date, cutting-edge look at how a plant with a tumultuous history has emerged from the shadows of counterculture and illegality. Today, marijuana has become a remarkable social, economic, and even political force, with a surprising range of advocates and opponents. Public policy toward marijuana, especially in the United States, is changing rapidly.Marijuana: A Short Historyprovides a brief yet compelling narrative that discusses the social and cultural history of marijuana but also tells us how a once-vilified plant has been transformed into a serious, even mainstream, public policy issue. Focusing on politics, the media, government, and education, the book describes why public policy has changed, and what that change might mean for marijuana's future place in society.

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The War on Marijuana in Black and White by Edwards, Ezekiel et al., ACLU Foundation, 2013

This report is the first to examine marijuana possession arrest rates by race for all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) and their respective counties from 2001 to 2010. The report relies on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program and the United States Census’ annual county population estimates to document arrest rates by race per 100,000 for marijuana possession.

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