McGeorge School of Law

Regulating Marijuana at Home and Abroad

About the Symposium

Voters in eight U.S. states and the District of Columbia and the elected national governments of Uruguay and Canada have concluded that formally regulating adult-use cannabis is preferable to continuing to enforce prohibition. The regulatory designs being adopted vary considerably across these jurisdictions, but share the characteristic of falling outside the range of policies allowed under the UN drug control treaties, which limit cannabis “exclusively to medical and scientific purposes.” The treaty questions raised by cannabis regulation are the subject of relatively little attention within the United States, but U.S. state-level reforms and public opinion shifts in favor of regulation are significant for other countries precisely because of the prominent role played by the U.S. government in shaping and enforcing the prohibitionist global treaty regime. As cannabis regulatory reforms advance in these pioneering jurisdictions in the Americas, an important aspect of the precedents being established will have to do with how countries attempt to manage the treaty non-compliance entailed by regulation, and how other nations and the UN system respond.


March 3, 2017


8 a.m. — Registration

8:20 a.m. — Opening Remarks
Michael Vitiello, Distinguished Professor of Law, McGeorge School of Law

8:40 a.m. to 10:10 a.m. — Panel One: An International Perspective
Moderator: Emily Garcia Uhrig, Professor of Law, McGeorge School of Law

  • John Walsh, Senior Associate for Drug Policy and the Andes, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
  • Lisa Sanchez, Programme Director, Mexico United Against Crime
  • Robert Mikos, Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School

10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. — Panel Two: The Business of Marijuana: Costs and Benefits
Moderator: Rachael Salcido, Professor of Law, McGeorge School of Law

  • Dr. Jeff Michael, Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research, the University of the Pacific
  • Francis Jay Mootz III, Dean and Professor of Law, McGeorge School of Law
  • Leslie Jacobs, Professor of Law, McGeorge School of Law
  • Richard Miadich, Partner, Olson , Hagel & Fishburn, LLP

12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. — Luncheon Speaker: What California Can Learn from Marijuana Regulation in Colorado
Sam Kamin, Vicente Sederberg Professor of Marijuana Law and Policy Sturm College of Law, University of Denver

1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. — Panel Three: Marijuana and Health Policy
Moderator: Karrigan Bork, Visiting Assistant Professor, McGeorge School of Law

  • Emily Parento, Associate Professor and Gordon D. Schaber Health Law Scholar McGeorge School of Law
  • Allyn L. Taylor, Fmr. Legal Advisor, World Health Organization; Visiting Affiliate Professor, University of Washington Law
  • Kyle Brown, Senior Health Policy Advisor Office of Colorado Gover­nor John Hickenlooper

3:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. — Panel Four: Marijuana Regulation & the Environment: Will California Lead the Way?
Moderator: Jennifer Harder, Assistant Professor of Law McGeorge School of Law

  • Hanspeter Walter, Shareholder, Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard
  • Dr. Maria Milanés-Murcia, Former International Legal Consultant for UN FAO in Nigeria
  • Ryan Stoa, Associate Professor of Law, Concordia University School of Law