National experts discuss legalization consequences ahead of Florida medical marijuana vote


September 9, 2014

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – From its health effects to law enforcement concerns to its uncertain legal status, the legalization of marijuana raises public concerns and piques interest, intrigue, and debate. The issue of legalizing marijuana is especially timely in Florida because Florida voters will decide on Nov. 4 whether to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. This year’s Allen L. Poucher Legal Education Series will bring together the nation’s leading experts on marijuana law, medicinal marijuana and public policy to discuss the multiple dimensions of marijuana legalization.

“Legalize Marijuana? A Conversation with the Experts,” will be held Friday, Oct. 24, at 10 a.m. in the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Florida. The event is sponsored by the Allen L. Poucher Legal Education Series and is presented by the Florida Law Review. It is free and open to the public.

Free tickets will be distributed through the Phillips Center Box Office and through UF Law’s student affairs office. Tickets also will be available the day of the event.

The Allen L. Poucher Legal Education Series was endowed by Betty K. Poucher, Elizabeth Poucher Reynolds, and Allen L. Poucher, Jr in honor of Allen L. Poucher Sr. A humanitarian who lived a life dedicated to service, Allen Poucher graduated from UF Law in 1942 and practiced law for more than 60 years. The Poucher Legal Education Series seeks to provide a venue for prominent legal, political and business leaders to discuss important issues facing our nation and world today. It has featured distinguished panelists such as former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, five former Florida governors, a former CIA spy, a four-star general, and numerous legal scholars.

For more details and to submit a question to the panelists, visit the Florida Law Review’s website at, or contact the office at 352-273-0670.

About the panelists

Dr. Bertha K. Madras

Bertha Madras is a professor of pyschobiology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and is the chair of the Harvard Medical School’s Division of Neurochemistry. In public policy, she was nominated by George W. Bush and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the Deputy Director for Demand Reduction for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.  She is author of more than 140 scientific manuscripts and book chapters, and recently co-edited a book on the effects of drug abuse on the human nervous system. She is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) MERIT award, a NIDA Public Service Award, and 17 patents with her collaborators. She has served on a number of NIH committees and other advisory boards, including the Advisory Board of the Addiction Studies Institute for Journalists and the Science and Technology Advisory Committee of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Dr. Carl Hart

Carl Hart is an associate professor of psychology in both the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University, and the director of Residential Studies and Methamphetamine Research Laboratories at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.  A major focus of Hart’s research is to understand complex interactions between drugs of abuse and the neurobiology and environmental factors that mediate human behavior and physiology. He is the author or co-author of dozens of peer-reviewed scientific articles in the area of neuropsychopharmacology, co-author of the textbook, Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior, and a member of a NIH review group. Hart was recently elected to fellow status by the American Psychological Association (Division 28) for his outstanding contribution to the field of psychology, specifically psychopharmacology and substance abuse. In addition to his substantial research responsibilities, Hart teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and was recently awarded Columbia University’s highest teaching award.

Dr. Beau Kilmer

Beau Kilmer is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, where he codirects the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. He is also a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research lies at the intersection of public health and public safety, with a special emphasis on substance use, illicit markets, crime, and public policy. Some of his current projects include estimating the size of illegal drug markets, assessing the consequences of alternative marijuana policies, measuring the effect of South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Program on drunk driving and domestic violence outcomes, and evaluating other innovative programs intended to reduce violence.  He co-authored a book that discusses “what everyone needs to know” about marijuana legalization.  Before earning his doctorate at Harvard University, Kilmer received a Judicial Administration Fellowship that supported his work with the San Francisco Drug Court.

Robert Mikos

Robert Mikos is one of the nation’s leading experts on federalism and drug law. His most recent scholarship analyzes the struggle among federal, state, and local governments for control of marijuana law and policy. He has also written on the states’ constitutional authority to withhold information from the federal government, the political safeguards of federalism, accuracy in criminal sanctions, the economics of private precautions against crime, and remedies in private law. Mikos earned his J.D. summa cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as articles editor on the Michigan Law Review and won numerous awards, including the Henry M. Bates Memorial Scholarship. After graduation, he clerked for Chief Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit. Mikos has taught at the University of California at Davis, where he was twice nominated for the school’s Distinguished Teaching Award, as well as at Notre Dame and the University of Michigan. He teaches courses in federalism, constitutional law, marijuana law and policy, federal criminal law, and drug law and policy.


Matthew Christ

Dustin Mauser

Published: August 27th, 2014

Category: News