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The Surprising Collapse of Marijuana Prohibition, What Now?

University of Virginia. School of Medicine
Online; Online Video; Video
Filmed Lectures
Marijuana has had a rocky and peculiar history in the United States. The early history of marijuana prohibition is fairly well known, thanks in part to a classic work on the subject, The Marijuana Conviction, co-authored by Richard J. Bonnie while he was associate director of a commission apppointed by Richard Nixon. In 1972, to the surprise of many, the commission recommended decriminalizing marijuana use, but it also rejected the idea of legalization, expressing major concerns about the public health consequences of doing so. While loosening marijuana laws became a mainstream policy idea through the Ford and Carter admisistrations, in the Reagan White House, a policy of "zero tolerance" took hold and evolved into a new and costly war on all illegal drugs. Millions of marijuana arrests ensued. As the drug war's costs accumulated in the early 21st century, support for decriminalizing marijuana returned. Some states defied the federal government by legalizing medical use. Then, suddenly, in 2012, voter initiatives in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for recreational use and, in 2014, voters in Washington DC did the same, with legalization in the District due to take effect 26 February 2015. The worries raised by the commission in 1972 are back, complicated by the challenges of implementing the law. This Medical center hour's principal speaker, who has both chronicled this story and been a player in it for more than four decades, will reflect on why marijuana prohibition suddenly collapsed and on what should happen next. Co-presented with the History of the Health Sciences Lecture Series, Historical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
University of Virginia. School of Medicine
Childress, Marcia Day
Bonnie, Richard J.
Tiouririne, Nassima Ait-Daou
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
Medical Center Hour
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The speakers in this presentation have given the University of Virginia permission to make it freely accessible online for all audiences to view. To request permission to reproduce, republish, and/or repost this presentation please contact the Historical Collections and Services Department of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia.
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