Wayne State will be hosting a marijuana conference where professors and lawyers alike will discuss the possibility of marijuana legalization and other similiar topics in regards to marijuana. This is the first marijuana conference to be held at a Michigan law school about legalization; the cost is free to the public.
That question could become a statewide debate if the people who started passing out petitions last week can get a legalization proposal on state ballots this fall.
The editors of the Wayne Law Review chose the conference topic -- National and State Marijuana Reform -- because legalization is an issue of national interest, said Law School Dean Robert Ackerman.
Former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, the keynote speaker, said the conference is a call for honest discussion. Cox initially opposed the 2008 Michigan act to allow medical marijuana.
"But when 63% of the voters wanted it, I said OK, I don't think it's the end of the world," he said this week. Cox said he's not ready to endorse full legalization of marijuana, but is offended by efforts that get in the way of the law.
Passing the referendum conferred "a personal right given to patients by Michigan voters, and we ought to be honoring that right," he said.
Current Attorney General Bill Schuette, who like Cox is a Republican, spoke out against the medical-marijuana act and has worked to narrow its interpretation. Cox, now a lawyer in private practice, declined to comment on Schuette's position.
The conference comes amid spreading efforts in the U.S. to legalize medical and non-medical marijuana. At least half a dozen states have legalization efforts under way. A Virginia state lawmaker announced this week that he wants pot sold in state-owned liquor stores, the Washington Examiner newspaper reported.
Kevin Sabet, a researcher at the University of Florida's College of Medicine and former drug adviser to the Obama administration, is to speak about conflicts between state and federal drug laws. He said pot should remain illegal because it would addict millions of Americans.
Sabet said the nation already has two legal addictive drugs in wide use -- alcohol and tobacco -- and that's enough.
WSU pharmacy professor Jesse Vivian said he'll propose that the university open a laboratory to analyze marijuana samples to help make the drug "more like something approved by the FDA, with rigorous manufacturing standards."
This is the first marijuana legalization conference to be held by a law school in Michigan, said Detroit attorney Matt Abel, director of the state campaign to legalize the drug.
More Details: If you go
What: National and State Marijuana Reform Conference
Where: Wayne State University Law School, Spencer Partrich Auditorium, 471 W. Palmer, Detroit
When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. today
Cost: Free, but $5 to park
Watch: Live stream at www.radioweedshow.com