Wayne State Marijuana Symposium Examines Approaches To Policy, Enforcement

Wayne State Symposium Explores Politics Of Pot

Wayne State University is holding a symposium on marijuana policy Friday to discuss the drug's social, economic, health and legal implications. Former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox will be the keynote speaker.

The symposium will examine different approaches to marijuana legalization and enforcement on the state and national level. Panelists include Kevin Sabet, policy consultant to the United Nations and former advisor to National Office of Drug Control Policy; Dan Riffle, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project; Jesse C. Vivian, Wayne State professor of pharmacy; and Matthew Abel, an attorney and the campaign director of an effort to fully legalize marijuana in Michigan.

"We are very excited to bring together prominent experts from around the country, as well as local attorneys practicing in metro Detroit, to speak on such a timely topic," said the Law Review's Jessica Bajkowski, who helped to organize the event.

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act of 2008 permits state residents with qualifying medical conditions to obtain a license to legally use the herb. More than 131,000 patients are currently enrolled in the state's marijuana registry.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Cox does not support full legalization of the drug and opposed the Medical Marihuna Act before it was approved by voters. But as attorney general he helped implement the law, working to ensure compliance by police, prosecutors and the Department of Community Health.

Current Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has taken a different approach to enforcing marijuana policy the state. Since the start of his term in 2011, Schuette has invoked a strict legal interpretation in order to to close down medicinal marijuana dispensaries.

Schuette's enforcement efforts have angered marijuana legalization activists and sparked a recall effort, as well as a petition drive to amend Michigan's constitution to legalize cannabis.

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