Drug Treatment Courts Should Take Notice of Evolving Views on Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization

A marijuana leaf. Marijuana decriminalization and legalization is not a new issue. In one way or another, policy makers have been grappling with it since the 1970s. With election politics starting to heat up in the run-up to the 2020 presidential elections, the issue is again being thrust into the spotlight. The vast majority of democratic candidates have taken positions and proposed policies that – to differing degrees – seek to reform the way the US criminal justice system sanctions recreational marijuana use.[1]

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The Wild, Wild West of Addiction Treatment

Screenshot of an episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on rehabilitation centers

Addiction is complex. Addiction treatment is even more so. John Oliver, the host of Last Week Tonight, provides an intriguing glimpse into some of the complexities of this industry during his May 20, 2018, episode.[1] I recently watched the episode, and even as someone whose work over the past five years has centered on drug treatment courts (including drug treatment), I was shocked. I found it hard to believe that the $34 billion treatment industry, an industry that includes over 14,500 drug treatment facilities in the United States, is effectively unregulated at the federal level with “no federal standards for counseling practices or rehab programs.”

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