Marijuana: Amendment 64 support letter signed by more than 100 college professors

thomas ginsberg.jpg
Thomas Ginsberg.
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.

stephen mumme.jpg
Stephen Mumme.
"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.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Photo: Marijuana billboard welcomes Barack Obama to Colorado."

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Prediction -- Just like Pat Robertson's withdraw from A64, some of these "professors" will withdraw their names from this letter when they realize that it contains BLATANT LIES and FALSE CLAIMS regarding the financial savings and earnings projections -- which would actually be closer to ZERO.


It's professionally dishonest of them to endorse such abject lies and deceptions.


While many of these "professors" may actually support true legalization of marijuana, having their names associated with a bogus amendment promoted by deliberate lies and demonstrable deceptions will forever tarnish their professional reputations, much like Ward Churchill's incidents of deception ended up destroying his entire career.


-- A64 will provide ZERO reductions in arrests for possession under its paltry 1 (one) ounce limit, further restricted to those over 21 yrs old, since Colorado Statute has since 1977 decriminalized the possession of marijuana, including those 18 yrs old and up, and current Statutory recreational decrim is set at up to 2 (two) ounces -- twice the amount allowed by A64 and without the arbitrary age restriction.


-- A64 will provide ZERO reductions in arrests for cultivation, as its absurd, unsustainable puny limit of only 3 (three) flowering plants does not incorporate or cover any real-world marijuana growers. There have been no reported incidents of anyone over 21 being arrested or prosecuted for growing only 3 flowering plants.


Total savings in Arrests and Prosecutions under A64's absurdly tiny limits = ZERO !!


Your names are forever attached to this FRAUD, "professors" ... enjoy the obloquy and contempt academia will forever associate with your names for endorsing LIES and FRAUD.






 @DonkeyHotay  Re: Diminishing IQs in early Marijuana users. Your whole argument rests on the notion that the IQ Test is some sort of perfect measurement of Intelligence. Im pretty sure the IQ Test doesn't measure an individuals capacity to build a pioneering business from the ground up, or to make groundbreaking discoveries in various fields of scientific research. Its also designed for White people and Asians. 


A very powerful letter for sure...Written by intellectuals with no dog in the hunt...However - nothing compared to the money-greased lobby of GlaxoSmithKline, Rouche and so many other behemoth pharmaceutical companies.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

**** A64 does NOT Legalize Marijuana! -- Not Even Close ****


A64 is a CONTINUATION of CRIMINAL Prohibition ... with extra regulations and taxes added.


Too funny that a bunch of OUT OF STATE teachers didn't bother to actually read, much less analyze the vacuous effects of the amendment.


-- How many Adults >21 are arrested for possession of 1 ounce or less in Colorado?


ZERO! ... as possession of up to 2 (two) ounces is already decriminalized for anyone over 18.


-- How many Adults >21 are arrested for cultivating only 3 (three) flowering plants?


The liars behind A64 haven't provided a SINGLE CASE of any such 3-plant farmers.


FACT is, A64's pathetically paltry limits and restrictions provide NO FUNCTIONAL BENEFIT to any real-world marijuana user or grower.


A64 is a FRAUD promoted by LIES and DECEPTION.




This Amendment is becoming more & more lees significant the closer we get to election time .

As little as 15 years ago , there was a good possibility you were going to jail if found w/ as little as a 1/4 oz . Now , as long as you aren't acting like a total dick , there's a good chance that not only

are cops NOT arresting for small amounts , half the time they will return it to you .

I'm to the point where I could care less about it's legalization and am concentrating more on the $450,000,000 Denver Public School bond issue . These children don't even have air-conditioning . They have cancelled funding for ALL the arts  and many other ' non-educational ' activities .(  While sports teams are going STRONG ! ) 

They wonder why drop out rates are again on the rise ...

I have yet to hear the logical reasoning behind the banning any kind of drug , in the first place. It's all about control and they ALWAYS WANT MORE !!!

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Kwame You didn't score well on your IQ test, did you?



 @DonkeyHotay Have you ever quantified your statements?  I'm perfectly fine with the "paltry limits" and work well within my wife and I's need.  You must have a friend here on the boards because any person other than RobertChase that disagrees with you has their post removed so this must be your bastion only.



Donk , wanna come down for the CU / CSU game this weekend ?

I've got aisle sets on the 45 yrd line . Let me know , friend .

RobertChase topcommenter

 @DonkeyHotay No; you are the fraudster.  Many academics more than those who just went on record supprt the legalization of cannabis, and the provisions of Amendment 64.  The mass of thinking people are fed up with Prohibition, and no one other than a handful of the most self-absorbed of those who use cannabis are so crazed as to buy into your claims that declaring it not unlawful to grow and use some cannabis does not represent revolutionary improvement in our laws.  The Colorado Drug Investigators Association or other prohibitionist parasites may be paying you for your efforts, which are directed entirely at clueless "stoners" (to use your terminology) -- the mainstream of voters who are aware of Amendment 64 consider that it does represent the legalization of cannabis, and the political prospects of the Amendment turn entirely on how the mass of voters feel about the larger issue of the whether to legalize cannabis rather than any of the distractions, misrepresentations, and outright lies about its provisions opponents have been slinging in the hopes that something would stick.  People who use cannabis could have substantial political clout, but they are still largely uneducated and disorganized; the real measure of the degree of our political prostration is the evidence of your mission here to try to dissuade people who use cannabis from voting to legalize some use and cultivation of it. 


There must be some reason that you persist, as quixotic as your task might seem.  Don Quixote's motivations were pure, if purely crazy, but one must suspect that you are being paid.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Juan_Leg Thanks ... but I've got to stalk Lori Midson to see where she's eating ... might win a prize.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter


"Amendment 64 would not stop unjust imprisonment for cannabis, 

legalize cannabis, or regulate it like alcohol." -- Robert Chase


"There is no doubt that if Amendment 64 passes, prohibitionist cops who think that they can get away with it could harass home-cultivators"

-- Robert Chase


"[A64 is] a regime of unnecessarily harsh or restrictive regulations on the use of cannabis" 

-- Robert Chase


"[A64 is full of] unnecessary limitations and regulations" 

-- Robert Chase



 @DonkeyHotay  Jesus Christ do you just copy and paste everything everyone says on here? LOL, scary . Well done though. 

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault