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Life Sentences:
Collateral Sanctions Associated with Marijuana Offenses

Quick Summary:
In addition to the punishment imposed by the judge,  a misdemeanor conviction for possession of marijuana can trigger automatic bars on educational aid, a bar on serving as a foster parent, denial of federal housing assistance, revocation or suspension of occupational licenses, and suspension of one’s driver’s license. A felony conviction (for example, growing a marijuana plant) can result in all of these sanctions, and more.

If marijuana offenses are considered less of an affront to civil society than violent crimes such as murder, rape, or kidnapping, our study shows that this consideration is rarely found in any of the collateral sanctions. A person convicted of growing marijuana (a felony in most states) is often subjected to the same, and sometimes greater, collateral sanctions than a person convicted of murder, rape, or robbery.

This report examines these sanctions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and ranks the jurisdictions in order or severity.

>> Read Report

Pharmacotherapy and the Future of the Drug

Executive Summary: Over the next decade an increasing number of new “pharmacotherapy” medications will become available with the potential to tremendously impact the use and abuse of illegal drugs and the overall direction of national and international drug policy. These pharmacotherapy medications are designed to block or significantly reduce the “highs” elicited by illegal drugs. Used as part of a drug treatment program, pharmacotherapy medications may provide a valuable aid for people seeking a chemical aid in limiting or eliminating problem drug use. However, the tremendously politicized nature of the “drug war,” raises substantial concerns that in addition to those who choose to use such medications, some people will be compelled to use them. In the absence of extraordinary circumstances, governmental action compelling a person to use a pharmacotherapy drug would violate a number of constitutional guarantees and other legal rights protecting people from forced medical treatment. Among the rights potentially implicated by compulsory use of pharmacotherapy drugs are the right to informed consent, the right to bodily integrity and privacy, the protection against cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to freedom of thought.

>> Read Report

Cognitive Liberty & The First Amendment
CCLE's Amicus Brief to the US Supreme Court in US v. Sell

The fundamental right to control one’s own intellect and mental processes is protected by the First Amendment, and is eviscerated if courts permit the government to forcibly drug citizens. If government agents, with the concurrence of the courts, can constitutionally order the forcible manipulation of Dr. Sell’s mind in order that he may stand trial, then any accused defendant, who poses no danger to self or others, is also at jeopardy of losing his or her First Amendment right to freedom of thought. This is particularly true in light of ongoing pharmacological and technological developments, which provide unprecedented tools for forcibly altering the inner workings of the mind.

>> Read Brief [PDF, 254.5K]


Report on Salvia Divinorum
and its Active Principle, Salvinorin A 

In October 2001, the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (ccle) collaborated with several experts on Salvia divinorum and prepared a report covering the plant's history, effects, medical use, and low abuse potential. The analysis concludes that Salvia divinorum is not an appropriate candidate for scheduling.

>> Read Report

Report on Medical Marijuana,
the First Amendment and Cognitive Liberty

In 2003, CCLE's legal team began briefing state lawmakers on the cognitive liberty implications of medical marijuana, and marijuana prohibition in general.

>> Read Report