Marijuana: Amendment 64 support letter signed by more than 100 college professors

As Barack Obama was visiting CSU, where he was greeted by 13,000 supporters and an attack sign with a typo, the folks behind Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, released a letter with an academic flavor. It features the signatures of 100-plus professors who back the measure, including high-profile types like the University of Chicago's Thomas Ginsberg and several instructors from CSU. Read it below.

The letter promotes a "sensible, evidence-based approach to marijuana policy" -- a message amplified by quotes from signatories included in an Amendment 64 release. Among those highlighted is Ginsberg, a law and political science prof who co-directs the Comparative Constitutions Project, which specializes in cataloging the world's constitutions since 1789.

"The time has come to take a more rational approach to marijuana policy," he says. "By criminalizing marijuana, we are wasting scarce law enforcement resources, foregoing needed revenue, and channeling people toward the far more dangerous drug that kills tens of thousands each year -- alcohol."

Also featured is CSU poli-sci expert Stephen Mumme, one of four staffers from the school's past and present to sign on thus far. His statement: "Contrary to its purpose, marijuana prohibition has helped create the conditions in which cartels flourish. It distorts development in Mexico, weakens local government, wreaks violence and insecurity along the border, and undercuts hard-won efforts to strengthen binational cooperation between our two countries. It's time we try another approach."

By the way, the page on the Amendment 64 website devoted to the letter includes a button that allows more professors to sign. Hope someone's checking the credentials of those who do -- because if Professor Charles Xavier of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters climbs on board, we want to be sure he's the real thing.

Here's the letter.

To the Voters of Colorado:

As professors in the fields of law, health, economics, and criminal justice, among others, we write this open letter to encourage a sensible, evidence-based approach to marijuana policy, and to endorse Amendment 64, the initiative on this year's ballot to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Colorado.

For decades, our country has pursued a policy of marijuana prohibition that has been just as ineffective and wasteful as alcohol prohibition. We have reviewed Amendment 64 and concluded that it presents an effective, responsible, and much-needed new approach for Colorado and the nation.

Marijuana prohibition has proven to be the worst possible system when it comes to protecting teens, driving marijuana into the underground market where proof of age is not required and where other illegal products might be available. In a regulated system, marijuana sales will be taken off the streets and put behind a counter where age restrictions are strictly enforced. There is evidence that regulating marijuana works. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, marijuana use among Colorado high school students declined from 2009 to 2011, the time during which the state began regulating medical marijuana sale. Meanwhile, it increased nationwide, where no such regulations were implemented.

Given our current economic climate, we must evaluate the efficacy of expensive government programs and make responsible decisions about the use of state resources. Enforcing marijuana prohibition is wasting our state's limited criminal justice resources and eroding respect for the law. Our communities would be better served if the resources we currently spend to investigate, arrest, and prosecute people for marijuana offenses each year were redirected to focus on violent and otherwise harmful crimes. According to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, passage of Amendment 64 would immediately save local and state law enforcement officials more than $12 million per year, and it could save more than $36 million per year within the first five years. Paired with new state and local revenues, the initiative has the potential to generate more than $120 million per year for Colorado and its localities.

It is also important to note that Amendment 64 does not change existing laws regarding driving under the influence of marijuana, and it allows employers to maintain all of their current employment and drug-testing policies.

The State of Colorado, as well as our nation, have successfully walked the path from prohibition to regulation in the past. Eighty years ago, Colorado voters approved a ballot initiative to repeal alcohol prohibition at the state level, which was followed by repeal at the federal level. This year, we have the opportunity to do the same thing with marijuana and once again lead the nation toward more sensible, evidence-based laws and policies.

Please join us in supporting Amendment 64, the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol.


Burton Abrams Professor of Economics University of Delaware

Daron Acemoglu Professor of Economics Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Patricia A. Adler Professor of Sociology University of Colorado Boulder

Peter Adler Professor of Sociology and Criminology University of Denver

Sunil Aggarwal Researcher, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation New York University School of Medicine

Onwubiko Agozino Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)

Ty Alper Clinical Professor of Law U.C. Berkeley School of Law

Howard Baetjer, Jr. Lecturer, Department of Economics Towson University

Jennifer Ball Associate Professor of Economics Washburn University

W. David Ball Assistant Professor Santa Clara School of Law

Randy Barnett Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory Georgetown Law

Humberto Barreto Elizabeth P. Allen Distinguished University Professor, Economics and Management DePauw University

Art Benavie Emeritus Professor of Economics University of North Carolina

Douglas A. Berman Professor of Law Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University

Marc Bilodeau Associate Professor of Economics Indiana University

Cyrus Bina Distinguished Research Professor of Economics University of Minnesota

Miriam W. Boeri Associate Professor of Sociology Kennesaw State University

Bruce Caldwell Professor of Economics Duke University

David Campbell Lecturer in Economics Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business

Tapoja Chaudhuri Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology Haverford College

Lawrence R. Cima Associate Professor of Economics John Carroll University

Richard D. Coe Professor of Economics and Chair of the Faculty New College of Florida

Robert A. Collinge Professor of Economics, Retired University of Texas at San Antonio

Mike Cummings Professor of Political Science and President's Teaching Scholar University of Colorado Denver

William L. Davis Professor of Economics University of Tennessee at Martin

Dale DeBoer Professor of Economics University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Ranjit S. Dighe Chair and Professor, Department of Economics SUNY College at Oswego

K.K. DuVivier Professor of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Mitch Earleywine Professor of Psychology University at Albany

Fred Foldvary Lecturer in Economics, San Jose State University Director, Civil Society Institute, Santa Clara University

Sean Fox Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics Kansas State University

Dennis Frank Associate Professor, Counseling & Human Services Roosevelt University

Arthur Gilbert Associate Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies University of Denver

Tom Ginsburg Leo Spitz Professor of International Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar University of Chicago Law School

Michael D. Goldberg Roland H. O'Neal Professor and Professor of Economics University of New Hampshire

Hava Rachel Gordon Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Criminology Director, Gender and Women's Studies Program University of Denver

Philip E. Graves Professor of Economics University of Colorado

Colleen E. Haight Assistant Professor of Economics San Jose State University

Robert M. Hardaway Professor of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Mark J. Heyrman Clinical Professor of Law University of Chicago Law School

Douglas Husak Professor of Philosophy Rutgers University

Leslie Irvine Associate Professor of Sociology University of Colorado Boulder

Habib Jam Professor of Economics Rowan University

Erika Joye Instructor of Psychology Metropolitan State College of Denver

Daniel Klein Professor of Economics George Mason University

Alex Kreit Associate Professor of Law Thomas Jefferson School of Law

William D. Lastrapes Professor of Economics University of Georgia

David Levine John H. Biggs Distinguished Professor of Economics Washington University

Terry Liska Professor Emeritus of Economics University of Wisconsin

Mark J. Loewenstein Monfort Professor of Commercial Law University of Colorado Law School

David M. Long Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Brandman University

Leigh Maddox Adjunct Professor of Law University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Ann Magennis Professor of Anthropology Colorado State University

Maurice J. Malone Professor of Psychology Nova Southeastern University

Paul M. Mason Professor of Economics University of North Florida

Robert Melamede Professor of Biology University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Mark Montgomery Donald L. Wilson Professor of Enterprise and Leadership, Economics Grinnell College

Suzanna K. Moran Lawyering Process Professor University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Leon N. Moses Emeritus Professor of Economics Northwestern University

Peter Moskos Professor, Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Tracy Mott Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Economics University of Denver

Stephen Mumme Professor of Political Science Colorado State University

Richard F. Muth Calloway Professor of Economics Emeritus Emory University

Joanne Naughton Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Retired Mercy College

Thomas Nail Postdoctoral Lecturer in Philosophy University of Denver

Inder P. Nijhawan Professor Emeritus, School of Business and Economics Fayetteville State University

Kevin O'Brien Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Business Ethics and Legal Studies University of Denver

Patrick O'Brien Professor of Sociology University of Colorado Boulder

Brendan O'Flaherty Professor of Economics Columbia University

Randall O'Reilly Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience University of Colorado Boulder

Michelle Oberman Professor of Law Santa Clara University School of Law

Alexandre Padilla Associate Professor of Economics Metropolitan State University of Denver

Pete Padilla Instructor of Sociology University of Colorado Denver

Scott Pearce Adjunct Law Professor University of West Los Angeles School of Law

Michael Perelman Professor of Economics California State University

Dina Perrone Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice California State University - Long Beach

Mark J. Perry Professor of Economics University of Michigan

Chiara Piovani Assistant Professor of Economics University of Denver

Mark Pogrebin Professor of Criminology University of Colorado Denver

Raja Raghunath Assistant Professor of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Valerie Ramey Professor of Economics University of California, San Diego

Charles A. Reichheld, III Ph.D. Professor of Economics Emeritus Cuyahoga Community College

Amanda Reiman Lecturer, Social Welfare University of California Berkeley

Leonard Riley Instructor of Political Science University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Gregory Robbins Professor of Religious Studies University of Denver

Cesare Romano Professor of Law Loyola Law School Los Angeles

Paul Rubin Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Economics Emory University

John Ruggiero Edmund B. O'Leary Professor of Economics University of Dayton

David Sandoval Professor of History (Ret.) Colorado State University Pueblo

Raphael Sassower Professor of Philosophy University of of Colorado Colorado Springs

Scott Savage Associate Professor of Economics University of Colorado Boulder

Bill Schoen Adjunct Instructor of Sociology University of Colorado Denver

Andrew Abraham Schwartz Associate Professor of Law University of Colorado Law School

Marjorie Schweitzer Professor Emeritus of Sociology Oklahoma State University

Hamid Shomali Professor of Finance and Economics Golden Gate University

Steven M. Shugan McKethan-Matherly Eminent Scholar and Professor University of Florida

Jonathan Simon Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law U.C. Berkeley School of Law

Randy Simmons Professor of Economics Director of the Institute of Political Economy Utah State University

Kenneth Small Professor Emeritus of Economics University of California at Irvine

Ilya Somin Professor of Law George Mason University School of Law

Courtenay C. Stone Professor of Economics Ball State University

Robert N. Strassfeld Professor of Law Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Nadine Strossen Professor of Law New York Law School

Scott Sumner Professor of Economics Bentley University

Shyam Gouri Suresh Assistant Professor of Economics Davidson College

Alex Tabarrok Bartley J. Madden Professor of Economics George Mason University

Betty Taylor Professor of Criminal Justice and Humanities University of Phoenix

Alex Thompson Graduate Instructor of Sociology University of Colorado Boulder

Richard H. Timberlake Professor of Economics, Retired University of Georgia

Alex Tokarev Professor of Economics Northwood University

John Tommasi Senior Lecturer of Economics Bentley University

Edward Tower Professor of Economics Duke University

Susan Tyburski Lecturer on Law and Society The Women's College of the University of Denver

Mary Van Buren Associate Professor of Anthropology Colorado State University

Daniel A. Vigil Assistant Dean and Adjunct Professor of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Alexander "Sasha" Volokh Associate Professor Emory Law School

David Weiner Professor of Sociology Austin Community College

Mike Whitty Adjunct Professor, School of Management University of San Francisco

Madelyn V. Young Associate Professor of Economics Converse College

Edward H. Ziegler Professor of Law and Robert B. Yegge Memorial Research Chair University of Denver

Joseph Zoric Associate Professor of Economics, MBA Director Franciscan University of Steubenville

*Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Photo: Marijuana billboard welcomes Barack Obama to Colorado."

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