Hot Topic Program - What Happens When “Legalize It” Moves From Slogan to State Law?

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



Not long ago, “legalize it” was a phrase relegated largely to the t-shirts of dreadlocked reggae festival attendees. In November, however, it became state law in Washington and Colorado when a majority of voters in those states approved marijuana legalization ballot measures.

This panel will examine the shifting law and politics of marijuana legalization and drug policy in light of the new Washington and Colorado laws. Among the questions we will consider: How might these laws impact marijuana use and availability? What legal and political conflicts are likely to arise if the federal government moves to block implementation of the new laws? How did marijuana legalization suddenly become a mainstream political issue? And, are November’s results a sign that the drug war era is coming to an end?

Publication Title

Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting