Posted: Fri. October 12, 2012
Co-sponsored by Harpers Magazine, The Drug Policy Alliance and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley
In 1996 California voters passed Proposition 215, allowing physicians to recommend marijuana for medical purposes. Last October the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that doctors have a constitutional right to discuss marijuana with patients. Refusing to accept the will of the electorate, the federal government is fighting back. In January, prosecutors secured a drug conviction against Ed Rosenthal by suppressing key information at trial that he had been deputized by the City of Oakland to distribute medical marijuana. Upon learning this, the public was outraged and members of the jury disavowed their verdict. However, instead of a possible 60 years, Rosenthal was sentenced to only one day in prison, and a victory was declared for medical marijuana. Not to be discouraged, the Department of Justice has since asked the Supreme Court to allow it to punish doctors who recommend marijuana, and the DEA continues to raid and close down clinics.
Will the federal government stop the use of medical marijuana? Can the American people stop the federal government? What is the truth about the medicinal benefits and social impact of marijuana, and why does the government continue to oppose any and all drug decriminalization? This Independent Policy Forum assembles several of the foremost experts in medicine, drug policy, and journalism to discuss the past, present, and future of medical marijuana and the war on drugs.
ED ROSENTHAL, noted activist and best-selling author, is a key figure in the medical marijuana movement. In 30 years of study and writing, he has become a trusted expert on marijuana use and social policy. He is co-author of the book Why Marijuana Should Be Legal and has written over a dozen other books on the subject. Mr. Rosenthal presents a clear and concise analysis of the effects of marijuana and marijuana laws on society.
DONALD I. ABRAMS, M.D., is Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California st San Francisco and one of the leading researchers of medical marijuana. He is also Assistant Director of the AIDS Program at San Francisco General Hospital and since 1981 has been involved in several landmark studies on HIV and AIDS. He has conducted clinical trials of marijuana since 1997, with grants from the National Institute of Health.
EDWIN DOBB is Contributing Editor at Harper's magazine. His writings on civil liberties have been published in Harper's, Amnesty Now and San Francisco magazine. He was formerly Senior Editor of The Sciences, writes for the New York Times Magazine and is a visiting lecturer for the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.
ROBERT J. MacCOUN is Professor of Law and Public Policy at the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and is co-author of the book Drug War Heresies. He was formerly a behavioral scientist at the Institute for Civil Justice and the Drug Policy Research Center at the RAND Corporation. He is one of the world's foremost experts on drug policy.