In November 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first states—and the first jurisdictions in the world—to legalize the possession, use, and regulated distribution of marijuana. Although Attorney General Eric Holder promised in March 2013 to announce a Department of Justice policy to address the state initiatives, the White House has yet to take a position. This shifting legal terrain is the subject of “High Crimes: Strategies to Further Marijuana Legalization Initiatives,” a new report by the National Lawyers Guild (NLG).
The NLG report analyzes the legalization process under way in the states, suggests strategies to further marijuana legalization initiatives, and highlights current obstacles to ending prohibition. Among the NLG recommendations: reframe drug use as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice problem, challenge the punitive international drug policy framework, support states’ rights to regulate marijuana use, and reclassify marijuana to allow for medical research.