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.

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