TIPSHEET: Vanderbilt law professor available to speak on marijuana law

Governments across the country are grappling with thorny legal issues as they ponder the most significant reforms to marijuana laws in decades. A Vanderbilt law professor who previously has commented on marijuana law issues in news stories is available for interviews.

Robert Mikos, professor of law at Vanderbilt University Law School, is an expert in federalism and criminal law issues, including drug law and policy. He has recently published a paper on the conflict over state and federal medical marijuana laws, On the Limits of Supremacy: Medical Marijuana and the States’ Overlooked Power to Legalize Federal Crime.

He can provide insights into the history and content of state and federal marijuana laws, the limits of federal government’s constitutional authority over drug policy, the growing conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, and the prospects for reform. Mikos has not taken sides on the issue of legalization of marijuana, but he does have serious concerns about the way that strict federal laws on the subject may prevent states from adopting a more moderate approach including tight controls on the production and distribution of the drug.

Thirteen states now permit citizens to use marijuana for medical purposes and the Obama Administration recently announced it will not target marijuana distributors in compliance with state law in these states. California is also considering proposals to legalize recreational marijuana; proponents are gathering the signatures necessary to put an initiative on the ballot in the state in 2010.

Mikos spoke about marijuana reforms on CNN and Fox Business News.

Media contact: Jennifer Johnston (615) 322-NEWS

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