On this episode, Bobby Boxerman and I discuss the role race and class play in shaping cannabis laws. What role did these forces play in making the plant illegal, in enforcing the laws, and in the current wave of legalization? We also talk about Bobby’s engineering background and the future of academia in the age of coronavirus. To help guide the discussion, Bobby requested I read a law journal article by Steven Bender ahead of time. Follow the link below for a free copy of the article.
Bobby Boxerman is a graduate student in UMSL's Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. He plans to spend next year studying at Leiden University in the Netherlands before returning to UMSL to complete his PhD. His main areas of interests include cannabis regulation and human trafficking.
Tom Baker has been a PhD student in UMSL's Criminology and Criminal Justice program since 2017. Tom received his BA in Political Science from Arizona State University and worked as a police officer for approximately nine years. His research interests include police culture, use of force, and qualitative research methods. https://www.umsl.edu/ccj/Graduate%20S...
Bender, S. W. (2016). The colors of cannabis: Race and marijuana. UCDL Rev., 50, 689.
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Tom Baker: Hey, thanks for thanks for coming to hang out with me for a bit. Can you just go ahead and just say your name and where you're from.
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Bobby Boxerman: My name is Bobby box from and I'm from here in St. Louis.
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Bobby Boxerman: I've been in the Council got Criminal Justice Program A Tom
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Bobby Boxerman: For the past two years. I guess this is my last semester in the master's program and I'll be graduating, me and my research this stuff. I do mostly focuses right now on drug markets, although I'm interested in international crime, human trafficking, things like that. And I guess.
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Tom Baker: You got something planned for the fall
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Bobby Boxerman: Oh yeah, I do. Um, I was admitted into the university of lightens international criminology program.
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Bobby Boxerman: So it's a one year program in the Netherlands, which mostly focuses on things like human trafficking organized crime.
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Bobby Boxerman: Although, given the nature of the pandemic. We don't really know what's going to go on as far as like international travel international students and stuff like that. But right now, that's the plan.
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Tom Baker: Okay, and what did you. What did you study in as an undergrad.
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Bobby Boxerman: I did chemical engineering and undergrad. So switching a criminal justice was definitely a bit of a transition, but I didn't really feel as though the work that I was doing was really having an impact in the way I wanted it to.
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Bobby Boxerman: I kind of felt like I was just putting money into the pockets of whatever company or businesses working for at the time and I wasn't really
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Bobby Boxerman: Fulfilled. I guess. So I got interested in criminology and criminal justice, and it seemed like a really broad field.
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Bobby Boxerman: Like a place for everybody who's interested in it seems like I could use kind of the research and the analytical skills that I picked up over my time in engineering. So seems like a good fit is kind of jump, but it's been a blast so far.
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Tom Baker: And what would you like to do when you're when you're familiar to your plan is to go to light in for a year and then after that. What's after that.
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Bobby Boxerman: doctoral program. Definitely. I love doing research, mostly quantitative methods, although
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Bobby Boxerman: One of my biggest gripes with the field is seems like there's definitely a big divide between
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Bobby Boxerman: Qualitative and quantitative and I'd like to think I can bridge that gap, although I think I definitely always see myself leaning more into the quantitative stuff.
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Bobby Boxerman: Maybe that's just the engineering background speaking. But I think it's important to have that balance. I really like policy creation and policy evaluation.
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Bobby Boxerman: I'm defending my master's thesis in a couple of weeks, and it's on the effect of legalization of marijuana in California.
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Bobby Boxerman: I mentioned earlier, I'm interested in international crime, something like human trafficking terrorism and like
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Bobby Boxerman: Organized Crime particularly Mexican cartel. There's something I've always thought of really interesting. I'd like to work for government
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Bobby Boxerman: Probably law enforcement agency something like Interpol or un would definitely high on the list. Although something maybe homeland or CIA would also be, I think, very exciting.
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Tom Baker: Okay, and you're going to get your when you're done in light and you're gonna come back and finish your PhD here, right.
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Bobby Boxerman: Definitely
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Tom Baker: Okay, I had that news, but I just wanted to
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Tom Baker: And where are you, where are you right now you're in St. Louis right now.
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Bobby Boxerman: I am yeah I'm on the hill.
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Tom Baker: Okay. And do you have anybody that you're any family or friends, or anybody who's in in any of those sort of hot spots right now or everyone, good.
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Bobby Boxerman: Now, not as far as the oh my brother is actually working in ICU unit in Seattle. He's in there. So yeah, I guess he's he's kind of up in the thick of it right now. Okay.
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Tom Baker: Well, it sounds like they're they're doing pretty well up there.
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Bobby Boxerman: Yeah, they're doing well there. I think that as a country we're starting to get better but include path along a path.
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Tom Baker: Okay. So tonight we're going to just talk a little bit about cannabis legalized marijuana marijuana legalization in the United States.
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Tom Baker: And it's not something that I'm that I focus on so you assign me a like a law review article to read just to get me up to speed a little bit
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Tom Baker: And I'll put a link to that article down below. It's open access, I think anybody can read it. I'm just going to talk, talk a little bit about it. So what what drew your attention to, to cannabis legalization. What, what would your, your interest to that.
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Bobby Boxerman: Seemed like if you were going to write about it and do some research on it, especially in as a very. This is the time to get into it because I think we are kind of on the cusp of legalization within the next, I would say five years at the mouse is probably a pretty realistic number
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Bobby Boxerman: In California legalize two years ago and it's, you know, the most populous state in the country, and it's a little under researched as far as how that's impacted the state.
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Bobby Boxerman: And I
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Bobby Boxerman: Want to get a
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Bobby Boxerman: Yeah. So California legalized in 2016 and it hasn't really been studied that much, especially compared to Washington, Colorado.
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Bobby Boxerman: Mostly because it is more recent than those two California guys medically in 1996 but not recreationally pull the past few years ago, then Illinois was most recently took us at the beginning of this year.
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Bobby Boxerman: And California being the largest state in the country. And I think it has largest both
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Bobby Boxerman: Population wise and also extremely large geographically and also being in its location on the west coast is a really diverse group of people who live there.
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Bobby Boxerman: So I thought it was being interesting state to look into there hasn't really been like a pre and post evaluation of how that's impacted the state yet. So I want to kind of get that going.
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Bobby Boxerman: The data is also tough to get at, because it hasn't really been something that we've looked at as a country all that much.
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Bobby Boxerman: marijuana's a really, really interesting phenomenon because it's it is illegal federally and there are a lot of members of
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Bobby Boxerman: My generation, but especially your generation and the generation above you, who really think it's a very you know it's it's a very serious awful thing and then
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Bobby Boxerman: A lot of the people in my generation and the generation below me really think it's the opposite. And you don't really see that with anything else like
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Bobby Boxerman: Cigarettes, there's a general consensus alcohol, there's general consensus, things like heroin and crack cocaine like people generally have we generally understand as a country, how those affect people and how those affect
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Bobby Boxerman: You know, crime and things like that but marijuana. It's really in a gray area and I think country as a whole is in a gray area regarding marijuana right now.
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Tom Baker: Yeah, because you have you have the federal laws and then each state is approaching it in different ways, typically
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Tom Baker: Different levels with the recreational and medicinal so
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Tom Baker: Can you talk a little bit so so basically you you're interested in it because you see, Missouri, your home state sort of about to encounter the same
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Tom Baker: Process that just change that that other states and have have already encountered in you. So you're looking back and see how they dealt with.
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Tom Baker: With the issue and sort of the implications of legalization so that your state and other states can be better prepared to manage the process and some of the hiccups that might come along the way.
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Tom Baker: Can you talk a little bit about when cannabis that hasn't always been there. Marijuana has not always been
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Tom Baker: Managed by something that's been illegal can talk a little bit about when when cannabis was first made illegal in the United States. Some of the racial and class undertones that were that were center stage when that was taking that process will take place.
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Bobby Boxerman: One of the things that struck me the most. When I first started in criminology was how it seems, in this country, almost everything we talked about from a criminal justice perspective has like a tinge at least of racial component
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Bobby Boxerman: And I think part of that is because we are very diverse country because we are a young country.
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Bobby Boxerman: So I had no idea about the history of marijuana legislation was so colored racially not, you know, no pun intended, but it really was just shaped by race.
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Bobby Boxerman: I mean, everyone has been in the Western Hemisphere. For thousands of years, but it first came back in the states in the 1600s. Actually, I mean their agricultural records from colonies in the new world.
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Bobby Boxerman: But usually Jamestown actually where they were growing marijuana back then. The plant was just grown for him, though it wasn't used by white settlers at all. It's intoxicating purposes.
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Tom Baker: There are inhabit hemp is the hemp is the male. The male plant correct to use for for
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Tom Baker: Growth and things
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Bobby Boxerman: Yeah, it's usually used for ropes. Actually, the US government encouraged the production of hands on my diet.
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Bobby Boxerman: Okay, the US government encourage the growth of hemp during world war one and World War Two.
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Bobby Boxerman: Because we really need a is mostly used on boats for ropes and is also use for textiles.
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Bobby Boxerman: For tense and sleeping bags and things like that and actually released a film called hemp for victory. It was a grayscale film that came out I think in like 1943
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Bobby Boxerman: Encouraging farmers to grow hemp because we really needed it, and then hemp is illegal now still to grow, not just marijuana. You can't produce hemp in the United States. And that's kind of a result of some of the legislation that was anti marijuana
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Bobby Boxerman: But we first started to see marijuana use in the States as a drug in the early 20th century. Prior to that, there are some records that talk about the use of the drug.
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Bobby Boxerman: Although it's almost exclusively in reference to people from what we now call the Middle East.
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Bobby Boxerman: But at that time in the 20th century marijuana was really used here in the States, by Mexican settlers who almost were all exclusively waivers in the southwest, mostly in a of California and the surrounding region.
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Bobby Boxerman: But at that time they were really the only people who use it wasn't really a popular drug
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Bobby Boxerman: It had been used in Mexico for a while before that. But even then, it was kind of a lower class drug. It was associated with laborers and soldiers for hire.
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Bobby Boxerman: And that that kind of didn't help its reputation in the southwest. But it was really under the radar for a long time.
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Bobby Boxerman: But what's really interesting is that California is a state that we see now is extremely liberal in many ways, especially when we're talking about drug use, but at the time it was a leader and anti-narcotics campaigns.
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Bobby Boxerman: On some of the first anti marijuana legislation actually dates back to 1913 at that time, the California Board of Pharmacy past
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Bobby Boxerman: Obscure amendments, who have a poison control law in the State and it heavily restricted the possession sale and use of marijuana
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Bobby Boxerman: And this is mostly response to the fact that the Mexican population was growing and this was at the turn of the century and California in the region has started to take off.
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Bobby Boxerman: And the populations of Mexicans were starting become threatening to a white workforce, you know, the classic thing that we still see now, right, and like they're taking a job and stuff like that. Well that does the same kind of sentiment that
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Bobby Boxerman: Is being
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Bobby Boxerman: In other regions of the country that we're marijuana users, especially more in like the 1920s, 1930s.
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Bobby Boxerman: It was mostly blacks in the south or an Eastern European and Irish immigrants in eastern parts of the country.
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Bobby Boxerman: And the same kind of legislation started to kind of spread almost west to east across the country.
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Bobby Boxerman: Targeting these groups in using the really as a scapegoat. And if anybody's using marijuana as a scapegoat or in it as a tool I guess to regulate the behavior in a way that was legal.
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Bobby Boxerman: But really the biggest piece of marijuana legislation that happened was the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and that was the first federal piece of legislation and that actually stood until was overturned in 1969
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Bobby Boxerman: So that that legislation stood for a long time, and it did make marijuana legal and a heavily regulated the sale and use of tax taxing and hemp and things like that.
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Bobby Boxerman: But I'm using regulation of a drug as a tool control racial groups is nothing new. The United States.
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Bobby Boxerman: Actually, some of the earliest examples of is started in California. There was an economic recession in the early 1870s and a couple years later in 1875 San Francisco started passing anti opium laws.
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Bobby Boxerman: And started having an anti opium campaigns that feature like heavily publicized
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Bobby Boxerman: Rates of Chinese opium dens and they criminalize the users in the same way that marijuana related campaigns did a couple decades later to a different population to Mexicans.
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Bobby Boxerman: And the reason for this anti opium sentiment was because there were a lot of Chinese railroad workers at the time.
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Bobby Boxerman: And these Chinese railroad workers were extremely different from the white. I don't want to say settlers, but
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Bobby Boxerman: You know, the people who live in California at the time who were white and when the recession hit. There was a lot of competition.
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Bobby Boxerman: For these federally funded railroad jobs and the Chinese were like a very, very easy to target scapegoat.
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Bobby Boxerman: But on the other side of the country in the 1870s and 80s Chinese opium dens were kind of a staple of like upper crust life. I mean, it was, it was a popular thing to do for upper middle class and
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Bobby Boxerman: upper class citizens to go and you know partake of opium. It wasn't illegal and it wasn't even really stigmatized.
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Bobby Boxerman: So it is just interesting to see that it's not the drug. It's the drug being used as a tool but marijuana was really under the radar until Mexicans, the primary users at the time started to be seen as a as a threat to what I'm going to call like the dominant social order at the time.
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Tom Baker: And so really economics and economic threats, because that's the strain that I see throughout it
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Tom Baker: Going back to the to the op opium laws through the cannabis laws. It's a population that's threatening to working class whites in the United States during times of recession or economic stress and then people who are in political power. Recognize that stress and then use
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Tom Baker: racial groups as targets to, you know, rally support for for political gain. Is that sort of what's what you see happening.
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Bobby Boxerman: Yeah, I would. I mean, some of the stuff that was said was pretty inflammatory there's this quote here, this guy Henry and singer who is he, if you can go in. Yeah, if you can wait.
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Bobby Boxerman: For kind of a state of marijuana and anyways all drugs United States. Now, I would say it's probably saying every he's got this quote he addressed Congress, and he said,
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Bobby Boxerman: I believe this is in like 1936. This was right before the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, he said, there are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US.
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Bobby Boxerman: Most are Negroes Hispanics Filipinos and entertainers their satanic music jazz and swing result from marijuana usage. So it's attacking, not just the drug, but the people and their culture, which I think is important because it's it's making them the other in my
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Tom Baker: Fast, fast forward because
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Tom Baker: There's some, there's some complicated history for me. And again, I don't know much about the subject.
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Tom Baker: But there's in the in the 60s and 70s, there's a there's sort of a mix. You have some loosening of these types of laws. Am I correct. And then, but also you have some tightening and we may you
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Tom Baker: From what I'm seeing is, you see a targeting of certain races and classes of people and also there's a political element with people who are rebelling against the social order in the 1960s and 70s and the way that the stones laws take shape. Can you talk a little bit about that.
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Bobby Boxerman: Yeah marijuana was really I think under the radar for a long time. I would say probably from the 40s into this early 60s and at this time it was more popular.
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Bobby Boxerman: Among different populations, then it where it was at the beginning of the century.
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Bobby Boxerman: The two biggest populations, but it should be a two. According to Bender, the author of the Law Review that you were talking about earlier. He says there's mostly hippie and beatnik cultures who are mostly white
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Bobby Boxerman: And mostly or at least many of them were college students or at least middle class. So let's say it's 90
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Bobby Boxerman: By
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Bobby Boxerman: You know, minorities blacks Mexicans Chinese whoever you want to say using marijuana at this time it's it's mom and dad's kid who they just sent off to, you know, Washington University or ever and they discover it. And it's like,
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Bobby Boxerman: all this crazy stuff we thought about the dragons. You know, it's not true and to them, it becomes a symbol of like resistance or, you know, they
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Bobby Boxerman: They write music or art or they express themselves with it, I guess. And then you also see the Vietnam War happening in this time.
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Bobby Boxerman: And there's a lot of anti establishment segment, especially among these younger groups. And I think marijuana use is kind of a way for many of them to express that. So now, at this time, you've got all these assemblies know class white people who are using marijuana
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Bobby Boxerman: And they're getting arrested for it and they're going to jail for it. Sometimes for decades, you know, for 10 to 30 years for possession of what we would consider to be pretty relatively small amounts of marijuana
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Bobby Boxerman: And that's a problem. Now, because these are members of the dominant society who are now suffering under these laws. I mean, by the end of 1969 or almost 100,000 marijuana related arrests.
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Bobby Boxerman: Jesse 1969 alone and the majority of them were white citizens and like I said at the time these prison sentence where we're really long in many cases.
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Bobby Boxerman: And this is when the debate starts to happen like should we keep criminalizing and sending people to prison for this but
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Bobby Boxerman: As it is these two generations were really divided on this. There's a younger generation who, you know, very anti war anti establishment.
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Bobby Boxerman: Pro marijuana and then the generation before them, who grew up hearing and reading the things that you know Henry and singer and his cohort.
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Bobby Boxerman: Said about marijuana and all the crazy stuff about how it makes you a rapist. It makes you extremely violent all this other stuff. So like you said there were some loosening up the laws and some restriction of the laws so
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Bobby Boxerman: Congress passed the I believe is the federal substance scheduling max. I think in 1973
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Bobby Boxerman: And marijuana the sentencing laws were loosened because we can't keep sending all these white kids to prison because that's bad now.
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Bobby Boxerman: It was okay. It was, you know, Mexican the blacks and whoever but now it's bad, because these are our kids were sending in prison. So we're not going to send in a prison for 30 years for possession
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Bobby Boxerman: But at the same time marijuana was placed as a schedule one drug and as a police officer. I'm sure you know that schedule on drugs. They're usually pretty serious drugs.
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Bobby Boxerman: I mean, heroin and LSD are some examples of schedule on drugs and they're they're classified as drugs, they have two criteria that needs to be met in large part, there's that they
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Bobby Boxerman: Have a high potential to be addictive and then they also have no currently accepted medical years so I see at least two problems.
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Bobby Boxerman: With marijuana being placed in this category. And the first is that there's not a lot of research to show it's addictive for the second is that
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Bobby Boxerman: There's not a lot of research, there's not enough research to say that there's no medical use. And the caveat here is that it's impossible to save. There is a medical use. If you don't research. It is also possible, say, well, there's not a medical use. If you don't research it
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Bobby Boxerman: So in many ways. Yeah, marijuana was more accepted but also federally was very much still no no still something that was you could go to prison for and that
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Bobby Boxerman: I don't think at that time there was a single state that had legalize marijuana. I don't think the first decriminalization happened to, I want to say 1976
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Bobby Boxerman: But there's a congressional commission that was asked by the Nixon administration to research marijuana and they released the 260 page report.
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Bobby Boxerman: In 1972 I believe 1971 maybe that the essentially the consensus of the report was
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Bobby Boxerman: This drug is now we thought it was. But we also don't really understand it and the meantime it should be decriminalized, we should loosen the regulations on it and we should study it. So we understand it.
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Bobby Boxerman: And anecdotally Nixon through the report in the trash and a year later, he declared war on drugs to begin and two years after that 440 5000 people, whereas in 1974 alone for marijuana marijuana related charges. So I would
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Tom Baker: Think what do you think his motivation would have been. I mean, you don't obviously you didn't know, Nixon, but the
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Tom Baker: The do. Do we have any indication of what his motivation was to. Was it just that he had been indoctrinated in this
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Tom Baker: ideology that you know I'd stick with this dragon stigmatized or where their political reasons for this, that he view the consumers of the drug is being affiliated with with the opposition. Is there any evidence. Either way, you know,
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Bobby Boxerman: I don't know. I would guess it's a mix of everything. I think very much in my opinion, the largest factor was that it was the opinion of the opposition that marijuana should be at the very least decriminalize
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Bobby Boxerman: And I don't think there were a ton of people out there at the time who was just saying open market like let's make marijuana available your grocery store next to no
00:19:55.170 --> 00:20:03.480
Bobby Boxerman: But there were a ton of people who are saying that we shouldn't be arresting people for this, this should be something that Americans as a free country is a democracy should at least be allowed to decide upon
00:20:03.690 --> 00:20:13.470
Bobby Boxerman: So I would guess it was Nixon, who is obviously, you know, part of the establishment. He's like, the most establishment person in the United States, as the President. So I think it was
00:20:14.070 --> 00:20:30.810
Bobby Boxerman: Largely political as far as Nixon personal views. I had no idea. I mean, I would guess, given the character of the guy from what we know he probably wasn't a huge fan of marijuana but I mean he was a very shrewd politician and he he politically played his cards very wisely that
00:20:32.670 --> 00:20:40.710
Tom Baker: And I, and when you talk about this this this lumping together of these different different intoxicants like these different substances.
00:20:42.030 --> 00:20:48.720
Tom Baker: Even amongst police officers who are extremely conservative relative, you know, relative to the general population. I think it's safe to say
00:20:49.890 --> 00:20:51.390
Tom Baker: In my experience, you know,
00:20:52.560 --> 00:21:03.780
Tom Baker: The officers. I knew recognize the difference between, you know, cannabis and cocaine or heroin like opioids and and THC. I mean,
00:21:04.740 --> 00:21:21.300
Tom Baker: As a police officer. I can't, I can't think of when I was a police officer. I can't think of a single instance where incident where I can say, Wow, this person got high on the reefer and then did X, Y, or Z crazy horrible thing.
00:21:21.960 --> 00:21:23.070
Tom Baker: Me from every time.
00:21:23.520 --> 00:21:29.400
Tom Baker: I pretty much every time I was I was writing report where where cannabis was or marijuana was
00:21:30.030 --> 00:21:41.970
Tom Baker: A contributing factor was always some type of offense that was about the sale of cannabis for the sale of guns or and it was it was it was never about the drug itself. But when you talk about heroin.
00:21:43.110 --> 00:21:56.280
Tom Baker: Or alcohol on a daily basis are running one of our running jokes with several friends of mine was that suspect number one at homicide was usually the Bud Light can on the floor.
00:21:57.060 --> 00:22:06.570
Tom Baker: shiny new you know this this was an alcohol related incident, you know, people got drunk. It was two in the morning, but you just didn't really have that with Canada so it's
00:22:07.470 --> 00:22:17.790
Tom Baker: It's, it's just crazy to think that in when I was when I was a police officer was a felony and the state where I lived. And I'm sure that many people may oh I know because I worked
00:22:18.510 --> 00:22:25.320
Tom Baker: drug interdiction on a squad where we did drug interdiction and we were arresting people for transporting and selling cannabis.
00:22:25.710 --> 00:22:41.370
Tom Baker: And so I know there's lots of people that did prison time for possessing this drug that now I when I go to California. I can walk into a dispensary and buy it or when I'm in Canada. This past summer, I went to the liquor store you walk to the back and you buy your candidates, it's
00:22:42.480 --> 00:22:42.690
00:22:43.770 --> 00:22:44.190
Tom Baker: Crazy.
00:22:44.940 --> 00:22:51.210
Bobby Boxerman: I mean, that's one of the biggest debates in the marijuana legalization is what how do we restore justice to people who have spent
00:22:51.450 --> 00:23:03.840
Bobby Boxerman: 10 or 15 years 20 years in prison. I mean, do we expunge the records. I think Oregon's, the only state right now even California and Washington. There may still be people who are serving prisons offensive and they will finish their sentences.
00:23:05.370 --> 00:23:06.930
Bobby Boxerman: And that will will be on their criminal record.
00:23:07.980 --> 00:23:14.040
Bobby Boxerman: I mean it's it's very hard to have a marijuana related felony arrest in California. Now, but it is possible
00:23:14.760 --> 00:23:29.550
Bobby Boxerman: But yeah, like you said, it's it's insane that you can go states over and have it be a felony. You can travel 20 miles from Idaho to Washington and you can see someone in prison for something that you can go buy for $20 at a gas station wherever
00:23:29.940 --> 00:23:40.350
Tom Baker: Absolutely. And you talk about this, this sort of as we're legalizing this and we're we're sending it mainstream we're kind of jumping a little, a little bit ahead but go ahead. Go ahead anyway.
00:23:42.180 --> 00:23:50.550
Tom Baker: So as this as we engage in legalization. There are some people who like I have, I have a couple of friends. But let's talk about one in particular who
00:23:52.290 --> 00:23:57.900
Tom Baker: Had a couple of drug we grew, grew up together. He had a drug arrest when he was younger.
00:23:59.160 --> 00:24:06.330
Tom Baker: He had difficulty finding decent work because of this arrest and he got got convicted as well.
00:24:07.290 --> 00:24:08.550
Tom Baker: And he sold
00:24:08.880 --> 00:24:14.430
Tom Baker: Sold. We'd still does styles house cannabis has a lot lot very social person.
00:24:16.200 --> 00:24:24.480
Tom Baker: Everyone is very well liked and well connected and trusted by his friends and has a large network of people that he sold
00:24:25.080 --> 00:24:32.340
Tom Baker: Cannabis to for years and years and years and has built a business and his life, his life and his, you know,
00:24:32.790 --> 00:24:45.510
Tom Baker: Life along the way he feeds himself as through this through this business, and he has developed these skills and expertise and he's run a business successful business for a long, long, long, a lot of years any legal business when he was doing it.
00:24:47.160 --> 00:24:58.140
Tom Baker: And then it was last summer, I saw him and they were in the midst of where he lives of a legal of legalization, and he at one point said, oh, you know, what am I going to do
00:24:59.550 --> 00:25:07.320
Tom Baker: Because I'm, I, I'm dependent on this and now he's we grew up together. He's in his early 40s and he doesn't have
00:25:08.340 --> 00:25:19.590
Tom Baker: Master's degrees or a trade where he's, you know, has the skills, his skill was having this network of people and being trusted and having a small business.
00:25:20.190 --> 00:25:33.300
Tom Baker: What, what do you do you see any States recognizing this trying to integrate people who may have had these extra rest into the business like giving them an opportunity to become involved in the business as usual letter or no.
00:25:33.990 --> 00:25:41.940
Bobby Boxerman: As far as I know, no states have done that my expertise in that stuff, mostly lives in California and I could say California has done, none of that.
00:25:43.080 --> 00:25:49.410
Bobby Boxerman: And truthfully I I don't know whether that's even present in the mind of many policymakers and legislators.
00:25:49.800 --> 00:25:59.100
Bobby Boxerman: I mean, unfortunately, we still really do as a country, we'd like to differentiate ourselves from people who have gone to jail or gone to prison. We do kind of create like them and and us.
00:26:00.690 --> 00:26:10.380
Bobby Boxerman: And I don't even know how much of a conscious decision that always is. I think it's a good idea. I mean, it's a great idea to at least try because a lot of these states, California particular are really struggling
00:26:10.980 --> 00:26:22.290
Bobby Boxerman: To make their legal market viable, especially in a viable alternative to the local market and because there are a lot of obstacles to taking an industry that has survived.
00:26:22.710 --> 00:26:26.640
Bobby Boxerman: Illegally for decades and now trying to convince people. Well, let's do it legally
00:26:27.240 --> 00:26:35.160
Bobby Boxerman: And one of the big reasons for that is because it's tax extremely heavily, and it's a lot cheaper in almost every legal state to buy legal marijuana
00:26:35.700 --> 00:26:45.270
Bobby Boxerman: I mean in California. There are thousands of unlicensed distributors, just because it's so expensive and it's it's a quite a process to obtain the licenses. So the states are trying to regulate
00:26:45.660 --> 00:26:51.870
Bobby Boxerman: The market in order to benefit from the tax revenue and also to protect the health of the people who are consuming the products.
00:26:52.140 --> 00:26:58.350
Bobby Boxerman: And also to cut down on the legal market, but they're also kind of shooting themselves in the foot because they don't quite know how to do it.
00:26:58.650 --> 00:27:04.200
Bobby Boxerman: And they don't quite know how to regulate it. So they're essentially giving kind of like a very half ass legal market.
00:27:04.860 --> 00:27:14.460
Bobby Boxerman: When the legal market doesn't have any of these problems they have the networks in place. It's not expensive. The same way people have the networks and the connections, like you were saying like they have that kind of trust.
00:27:14.700 --> 00:27:21.960
Bobby Boxerman: You know, they may not necessarily trust the dispensary that's, you know, has all the cameras and is more of a process.
00:27:22.650 --> 00:27:30.180
Bobby Boxerman: So I think it's something that every state, or at least certain states should make an effort to try because there are people who do have the expertise.
00:27:30.690 --> 00:27:37.470
Bobby Boxerman: And it earlier you said that it was never really marijuana. That was the root of the problem is kind of violence everything surrounding it.
00:27:38.100 --> 00:27:44.160
Bobby Boxerman: And I think that's one of the biggest arguments against legalization is that when you legalize marijuana you
00:27:44.880 --> 00:27:54.420
Bobby Boxerman: You legitimate people coming to these places and buying the product and though it's legal. Many of the people may be, you know, doing things that aren't legal or they may be bringing
00:27:54.810 --> 00:27:57.510
Bobby Boxerman: Things with them like violence or
00:27:57.930 --> 00:28:10.440
Bobby Boxerman: You know unsavory whatever. And a lot of the pushback that you get from legalization is from like neighborhood councils and school boards and like, church groups and things like that because they don't want. It's not necessarily that they're like
00:28:11.160 --> 00:28:14.340
Bobby Boxerman: Oh well, people on our community will use this drug and do terrible things
00:28:14.670 --> 00:28:26.190
Bobby Boxerman: Some of that. Well, we don't want that kind of activity happening, you know, near our kids or near our schools and we don't want the violence or whatever, whatever other drugs THESE PEOPLE MIGHT BE CARRYING WE DON'T WANT THAT here.
00:28:26.670 --> 00:28:36.780
Bobby Boxerman: And I think that's one of the biggest issues that California faces is that it's really difficult to get like a local a local or municipal license to be distributor in a certain counties or even certain neighborhoods.
00:28:37.410 --> 00:28:45.180
Bobby Boxerman: Because people don't want it near their families or near their communities or things like that, it's not necessarily the drug itself. It's kind of the associations that people make with it.
00:28:45.180 --> 00:28:53.910
Tom Baker: So it's the people that are coming there to bid on the people that are going to come there by it. So they don't want the dispensary there because the people that are going to come to frequent the dispensary is what basically what you're what you're getting at.
00:28:54.300 --> 00:29:01.530
Bobby Boxerman: I think that's one concern of people. There's other concerns like, Oh, well, we don't want people, you know, smoking in public, where kids can see
00:29:02.280 --> 00:29:09.360
Bobby Boxerman: Orient near playgrounds or schools or things like that. And then there's also concerns with people driving while under the influence.
00:29:09.720 --> 00:29:18.870
Bobby Boxerman: Because as you know it's incredibly difficult to test on the spot for marijuana and you may be able to visually see or at least have a good idea that this person is likely under the influence of marijuana
00:29:19.260 --> 00:29:30.480
Bobby Boxerman: But it's, there's not really a marijuana field test, to my knowledge in the same way that there is alcohol or you can't blow into a breathalyzer and read someone's THC levels in their blood. In the same way, you can alcohol.
00:29:30.810 --> 00:29:41.610
Tom Baker: Do we even have evidence do we even have evidence that of what the effect of of cannabis consumption is on the ability to drive safely. Do we know
00:29:41.970 --> 00:29:51.450
Bobby Boxerman: There's it's mixed. In general, I believe that there's a consensus that it does have an effect. Although the effect is much diminished compared to alcohol.
00:29:52.470 --> 00:30:02.040
Bobby Boxerman: There are some tests. But the problem is that it's very easy to see when someone who just crashed their car has been drinking. It's a lot harder to see when someone is on marijuana
00:30:02.460 --> 00:30:10.530
Bobby Boxerman: And most states. I don't know whether any state actually differentiates between in their data collection a DUI arrested for marijuana versus alcohol.
00:30:11.130 --> 00:30:16.890
Bobby Boxerman: So you can look at the statistics and say, oh, well, do you IRS haven't been going up, like for instance in California. They've risen.
00:30:17.310 --> 00:30:21.180
Bobby Boxerman: very slightly since 2016 since you ization but
00:30:21.630 --> 00:30:28.590
Bobby Boxerman: The state doesn't track, well, this person was an arrest for marijuana consumption or driving as opposed to this person had been drinking
00:30:28.860 --> 00:30:44.310
Bobby Boxerman: So it's really, really hard to say, at least from a data collection standpoint on an aggregate scale sense a state has legalized marijuana. There are more or fewer. The same crashes. We really don't know especially because most people who use marijuana probably drink.
00:30:44.820 --> 00:30:46.860
Bobby Boxerman: And necessarily be true. The other way.
00:30:47.130 --> 00:30:51.000
Tom Baker: So maybe most people who get involved in traffic accidents or
00:30:51.030 --> 00:31:05.250
Tom Baker: get pulled over for DUI. Maybe there's a there's a both drug both both drugs at the same time, which would make it easier. And then also it's from what I understand, correct me if I'm wrong, but it's not the when they, when you test someone for cannabis. It's, it's the, it's the
00:31:06.870 --> 00:31:15.840
Tom Baker: The body's reaction what the body creates to process the THC and break down the THC and it's the can stand your body for a month.
00:31:15.960 --> 00:31:21.120
Bobby Boxerman: Exactly that. I mean, if what do you do when you pull someone over for what you think was someone erratic driving
00:31:21.510 --> 00:31:30.570
Bobby Boxerman: And you feel test them or you take their, their blood or the hair the urine or whatever from Atlanta and it comes back positive. Well, turns out that that test is only accurate to the past three days.
00:31:31.080 --> 00:31:34.680
Bobby Boxerman: Or the past 10 days and also turns out that marijuana is legal in the state.
00:31:35.370 --> 00:31:45.180
Bobby Boxerman: You know, what can you really do as a police officer or as a prosecutor, then you obviously can't say well you know they were clearly high at the time because you don't have direct evidence of that.
00:31:46.080 --> 00:31:52.620
Bobby Boxerman: So yeah, it's a very tricky situation. And as far as the data. There's really no consensus on
00:31:53.160 --> 00:32:01.230
Bobby Boxerman: If legalizing marijuana in the States, has increased traffic accidents, there's some. There's a lot of qualitative and anecdotal evidence from law enforcement.
00:32:01.530 --> 00:32:09.330
Bobby Boxerman: Officers and policymakers who say that it has presented the data doesn't back them up, it's, it's difficult to to really say one way or the other.
00:32:09.840 --> 00:32:22.410
Bobby Boxerman: In my personal opinion, I would estimate that in a void in a vacuum. As we you know nothing ever operates in social sciences that if a State words legalize marijuana. I do believe you probably would see
00:32:23.070 --> 00:32:29.850
Bobby Boxerman: Slightly more traffic accidents, but at the same time, maybe these people who are smoking aren't drinking
00:32:30.330 --> 00:32:39.570
Bobby Boxerman: Now, you know, or maybe they're drinking at a friend's house and smoking with them instead of going to the bar because at the bar. They can't smoke marijuana but at their friend's house. They can so
00:32:39.930 --> 00:32:48.930
Bobby Boxerman: They're less likely to drive there or they're more likely to have the front pick them up or something like that. So it's really complicated because you know marijuana and alcohol really do go hand in hand and a lot
00:32:49.140 --> 00:32:49.320
Tom Baker: And
00:32:49.650 --> 00:32:57.720
Tom Baker: And the other thing is the the effects of the way the way that it alters behavior is different to for me anyway, if I were to drink alcohol. It's
00:32:58.440 --> 00:33:09.690
Tom Baker: It makes me more going and more willing maybe to engage in things that I might otherwise not be a little bit more reckless and relaxed. Whereas if I consume cannabis. I find that a little bit more paranoid.
00:33:10.050 --> 00:33:20.610
Tom Baker: I'm a little bit concerned about what people are thinking about how I'm going to interact with people around me and it's an I may not, I may choose not to drive because I don't want you know I
00:33:21.450 --> 00:33:31.230
Tom Baker: Don't want to do it. So I think it would be very like he said it'd be very difficult to disagree, all of these different things that are taking place because there's such there's such different substances.
00:33:32.460 --> 00:33:44.640
Tom Baker: But I think there that there is this impulse that okay well we for the state. So the state regulates driving and they regulate do you eyes, and it's a huge industry.
00:33:45.900 --> 00:34:00.090
Tom Baker: Both for the state and for private industry. I mean, for these attorneys that, you know, so there's a lot of there's a lot at stake, like regulating that regulating driving and cannabis consumption as legal. I mean, there's that's a better business.
00:34:01.410 --> 00:34:02.700
Tom Baker: That people are going to want
00:34:03.930 --> 00:34:16.710
Tom Baker: But I do worry that that we're going to jump the gun developed tests and saddled people with these DUI arrests, which can be devastating. You know, maybe 10 grand, it costs you to, in the end,
00:34:17.730 --> 00:34:20.070
Tom Baker: And can ruin your you lose your job, you can you
00:34:20.640 --> 00:34:21.030
Bobby Boxerman: Can be
00:34:21.360 --> 00:34:25.170
Tom Baker: So I am I am worried about that we get back up just a little bit.
00:34:26.280 --> 00:34:28.140
Tom Baker: When this legalization.
00:34:29.160 --> 00:34:38.220
Tom Baker: First started taking place there were several reasons that could have really been used to justify the legalization process.
00:34:38.610 --> 00:34:40.290
Tom Baker: And in the article the vendor article that
00:34:40.560 --> 00:34:43.590
Tom Baker: That that you gave me to read. He talks a little bit about
00:34:44.910 --> 00:34:56.940
Tom Baker: How it's, it's, there's this this talk of the cartels and we want to shut down the organized crime, rather than, you know, relying on. We were wrong.
00:34:57.840 --> 00:35:02.610
Tom Baker: The evidence tells us X, Y, or Z or there's medicinal value or
00:35:03.120 --> 00:35:10.500
Tom Baker: There are, you know, they do talk about the tax revenue thing but it's, there's this reliance on this narrative of shutting down the cartels, which
00:35:10.830 --> 00:35:21.420
Tom Baker: For me, I, I remember saying these saying it because I remember thinking, you know, I dealt with a lot of these cartels and working in Phoenix, like
00:35:21.870 --> 00:35:32.220
Tom Baker: Where I went to houses where there were people that had been murdered to the river bottom and you see bodies stacked like cords of dead bodies sack like cordwood videos.
00:35:32.670 --> 00:35:42.840
Tom Baker: Being sent to you, beheadings and all these horrible things Mexico was a failed state is you could argue still failed state.
00:35:44.400 --> 00:35:57.690
Tom Baker: And that is a real threat and the and cutting off that line of revenue. I understand. I understand. And I, and I realize it, but there's also, there may be
00:35:58.740 --> 00:36:15.960
Tom Baker: Other motivations for for really relying on that narrative to sell it to the population. So as we sold, making it illegal did we use race when it was time to make it to to to do to to legalize if you follow me.
00:36:16.320 --> 00:36:24.330
Bobby Boxerman: Yeah, I know, I know. Bender talks about it. He says that he sent a similar line we're trying to take away the revenue or take this
00:36:24.660 --> 00:36:32.460
Bobby Boxerman: Product out of the hands of cartels and he makes this this argument and I, to me, it's not the most compelling argument, but he makes an argument that uh
00:36:32.910 --> 00:36:42.900
Bobby Boxerman: You know the words were subconsciously or consciously depending on your opinion, we're saying, well, let's take it out of the hands of these non whites and put it into the hands of whites for production.
00:36:44.100 --> 00:36:54.450
Bobby Boxerman: I don't know how much truth there is to that. I think there are for some people as a whole. I don't think it's the most compelling argument. But as far as the legalization goes
00:36:56.070 --> 00:37:12.330
Bobby Boxerman: Especially in the like the industry. It is motivated. I think because there are people now and people I mostly mean white people or white middle class people who see a personal interest in marijuana but they also see maybe like a financial interest in it.
00:37:13.620 --> 00:37:23.790
Bobby Boxerman: Better talks quite a lot about this and it's probably my favorite part of the whole paper is when he's talking about how the industry and not just the drug itself is acceptable now because it's accessible to
00:37:24.390 --> 00:37:32.460
Bobby Boxerman: To whites really because he speaks about first of all it's incredibly expensive to start a legal cannabis operation.
00:37:33.180 --> 00:37:41.250
Bobby Boxerman: And for two reasons. This makes it easier for for whites as a whole for the first reason is that you need to have the capital in the first place and you either need that.
00:37:41.700 --> 00:37:46.620
Bobby Boxerman: On your own or you need it from your parents and, you know, on an aggregate scale.
00:37:47.160 --> 00:37:56.130
Bobby Boxerman: It's a lot easier. I think for your average white American to access that kind of capital than it is for an African American to access it. And if you don't have it. You investment.
00:37:56.640 --> 00:38:06.120
Bobby Boxerman: And that investment is incredibly difficult to get because banks, for the most part are you know they're not really excited right now about investing in marijuana because it's federally illegal.
00:38:06.540 --> 00:38:14.760
Bobby Boxerman: And there aren't a whole lot of banks that wanted to do something that the federal government categorizes as illegal. I mean, it opens them up to a whole bunch of potential legal issues.
00:38:15.600 --> 00:38:29.550
Bobby Boxerman: So having a capital there in the first place is difficult and Bender also talks about almost all these states require you to have a nearly spotlights criminal record in order to be part of a legal marijuana operation and this also I think this friend disenfranchises a lot of
00:38:31.620 --> 00:38:41.850
Bobby Boxerman: minority members in like your friend who has this criminal charge, who could be extremely valuable to someone in like a legal marijuana operation. I don't know if he can be involved.
00:38:44.010 --> 00:38:55.920
Bobby Boxerman: Because he has this criminal record. So that is a big, big problem. And to me, it's just that the same way you see legalization happening because it's now interest to the dominant social order.
00:38:56.460 --> 00:39:02.640
Bobby Boxerman: Now you see, making it an industry interesting because it's of interest to the dominant social order.
00:39:04.050 --> 00:39:10.680
Bobby Boxerman: And I'm jumping ahead a little bit here. But right now we're talking more as a nation about universal health care of that. I think we ever have.
00:39:11.130 --> 00:39:20.100
Bobby Boxerman: And it's obviously a result of the Copa 19 virus that's happening. The been underinsured or uninsured is something that a lot of Americans have been chasing for decades.
00:39:20.700 --> 00:39:28.440
Bobby Boxerman: Disproportionately minorities in America have been facing it for decades, but now it's a conversation that's being held a lot by people who
00:39:28.980 --> 00:39:33.720
Bobby Boxerman: I would categorize as being in like the dominant social order, you know, people may be middle class.
00:39:34.530 --> 00:39:44.070
Bobby Boxerman: White Middle upper class now that they're realizing, like, oh, wow, this really is, you know, an epidemic that I am going to share it or my friend who I was a high school, college, with his, on his uninsured.
00:39:45.300 --> 00:39:57.840
Bobby Boxerman: And kind of unfortunately we see that I think all the time with racial issues like the the issues that minorities face. I think are going to be issues until there's enough members of the majority who care about it.
00:39:58.470 --> 00:40:07.830
Bobby Boxerman: And the same kind of way that once we see like corporations suffering and profit losses from global warming. Then we'll start to see action on it. It's once there's the people in power.
00:40:08.100 --> 00:40:17.880
Bobby Boxerman: Once they're affected, at least in this country. That's when it's kind of a problem, even though by the numbers. I mean, these are issues that might already have been facing for thousands and thousands of years. But, you know, decades.
00:40:19.290 --> 00:40:21.750
Bobby Boxerman: As far as being under uninsured goes
00:40:23.640 --> 00:40:30.780
Bobby Boxerman: And I'm not, I'm not saying that there are no minority owners or operators for legal marijuana grows, because I've met them.
00:40:31.320 --> 00:40:49.920
Bobby Boxerman: But I mean, there are they exist, but as a whole. It is a lot harder. I think for your average African American or Hispanic American to start or get into the medical or recreational cannabis industry than it is a you know your average white guy or white woman.
00:40:49.980 --> 00:40:57.390
Tom Baker: Yeah, there, and there are so there are barriers. I mean, there are barriers to enter any sort of business. But this, you have these you have
00:40:57.780 --> 00:40:58.980
Tom Baker: Additional barriers because you
00:40:58.980 --> 00:41:10.260
Tom Baker: Have these like tons of regulations tons of tax taxes, all you know a lot of money that's money that's required. Just like any business but you have, and also the
00:41:11.010 --> 00:41:18.750
Tom Baker: Legal requirements. You know, like you can't have been arrested for on a drug charge, even though
00:41:19.230 --> 00:41:30.540
Tom Baker: Engage. You know, you would you would think it makes sense that if you're gonna if you're gonna if you're going to grow, say you're going to grow cannabis the years of it's it's a skill, like it's a very
00:41:31.770 --> 00:41:32.580
Bobby Boxerman: Takes knowledge.
00:41:32.940 --> 00:41:43.950
Tom Baker: Yes, I like growing top quality cannabis. It's a you're a master grower, from what I understand it's a six figure income. It's a very, you know, like finding people who have years of experience.
00:41:44.280 --> 00:41:52.500
Tom Baker: That can develop high quality flower consistently know how to manage their plants, it's it's it's it's a skill.
00:41:53.040 --> 00:42:04.170
Tom Baker: And the only way you can learn it is by growing cannabis and we know that this has been illegal for years. So we know that everyone who has those skills has been engaging and all of these feelings.
00:42:04.590 --> 00:42:17.010
Tom Baker: That will, but we also recognize. We're going to need to hire. We're going to need to hire them or else we won't have the expertise but we can only hire the ones that had the ability to navigate the social world and not get arrested.
00:42:17.550 --> 00:42:24.360
Tom Baker: And those are typically people who are insulated from from being arrested because of their, their
00:42:24.780 --> 00:42:32.430
Tom Baker: Their class how much money they have you know where you know where they where they live connections. Their, their physical identity.
00:42:33.000 --> 00:42:46.800
Tom Baker: And you have other people who are in if they engaged in the same business, they're more likely to come into contact with law enforcement and be arrested. They don't have these insulating factors. And then when we, when we legalize it. It's like we're starting the race.
00:42:47.940 --> 00:42:52.530
Tom Baker: At to elect to be successful in this industry with two different starting points and
00:42:52.920 --> 00:43:03.270
Tom Baker: We're protected and you know you're an affluent person who was you were just lucky unable to avoid being arrested, you, you, you're a better criminal, you could say.
00:43:03.990 --> 00:43:04.860
Bobby Boxerman: And you've been rewarded.
00:43:05.610 --> 00:43:16.890
Tom Baker: Yeah, we're gonna we're going to reward that because we know, for I mean there's no way that you can have the skills required to grow to grow the plants. I mean, some of the other parts of the business are just like any other business but
00:43:17.370 --> 00:43:30.330
Tom Baker: There's a key element you know this, you have, you have to have experienced. The only way you could get it was by doing something illegal. So, it is it is fascinating that we would that we would punish punish those people the way we are. It's, it's, it's very strange.
00:43:30.630 --> 00:43:33.750
Tom Baker: So what makes no sense to me. I don't understand the
00:43:34.470 --> 00:43:44.160
Bobby Boxerman: rationale behind it and I love for some I'm going to tell me why, but I really don't. To me, I can't think of any way that protects the health of the people buying the products or
00:43:45.210 --> 00:43:59.700
Bobby Boxerman: If it's the government by making them more revenue I I truly cannot think of a single real reason. I mean, I guess that's like part of a larger debate, you know, why don't we allow felons to vote or, you know, have other rights. So it's just part of a larger problem.
00:44:00.420 --> 00:44:06.900
Tom Baker: Yeah, and it's and it's the kind of thing where it's not it's not like some people sitting around a table saying, Oh, we're going to
00:44:07.470 --> 00:44:18.990
Tom Baker: We're going to target this particular group or we're going to do X, Y, or Z. It's just all of these all of these entities. These individuals and organizations who have economic interests.
00:44:19.470 --> 00:44:33.690
Tom Baker: And they're trying to achieve their goals and they're competing and just the way that are these deep structural issues within American society. In most mushrooms. So most societies around the world. Some people are advantaged and some people are not
00:44:35.250 --> 00:44:50.070
Tom Baker: And it's something we we definitely need to be aware of and like what you just talked about. We see this happening with with coven have you have you seen any of the news articles, talking about the disproportionate impact on on black Americans compared to white Americans. Yep.
00:44:50.730 --> 00:44:51.570
Bobby Boxerman: Especially in the South.
00:44:52.650 --> 00:45:05.520
Tom Baker: And it seems like it's the same sort of these these the same structures, they're different. And it's in a different context, but seems like it's the same theme that runs throughout our society is that
00:45:06.750 --> 00:45:20.880
Tom Baker: It's not, it's not necessarily the racist asshole who's being racist. It's a system that over a long period of time, hundreds of years that the systemic
00:45:22.590 --> 00:45:24.600
Tom Baker: Their, their systemic and they show up.
00:45:25.620 --> 00:45:39.720
Tom Baker: Virtually every, every mode of American life that you can that you study so i think it's it's it's really interesting to use cannabis legalization as a lens to look at to look at to explore race.
00:45:40.500 --> 00:45:49.530
Tom Baker: I think you can tell us a lot about how it operates a bunch across a bunch of venues. Can you talk a little bit about, I won't keep you too much longer, but can you talk a little bit about
00:45:51.090 --> 00:46:00.750
Tom Baker: What you would like to see. So you're, you're, you're just getting started, your academic career you're interested in policy, you're studying this issue.
00:46:01.230 --> 00:46:12.810
Tom Baker: And I'm sure this will change over time. But right now, today, if you could if you were dictator perpetual and could make all the decisions on how our society organized. How would you
00:46:13.980 --> 00:46:19.050
Tom Baker: Recommend a state like Missouri, for example, go through the legalization process. How would you like to see it take place.
00:46:20.820 --> 00:46:26.400
Bobby Boxerman: The first thing that I think needs to happen and I know marijuana is not unique in this regard, but
00:46:26.850 --> 00:46:35.760
Bobby Boxerman: The fact that the federal government and states can classify something is legal and illegal to me a strange it's it's hyperbole. But imagine that it's perfectly legal for me.
00:46:36.360 --> 00:46:42.600
Bobby Boxerman: In California to walk up and just punch them in the face, just because I'm having a bad day.
00:46:42.960 --> 00:46:51.120
Bobby Boxerman: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SAYS IT'S ILLEGAL California decided to make it illegal that's incredibly confusing. And I know that's hyperbole, but the situation is not all that different from marijuana
00:46:51.510 --> 00:46:54.840
Bobby Boxerman: I think the first thing that needs to happen is that there has to be agreement federally
00:46:55.320 --> 00:47:08.970
Bobby Boxerman: I on a state level. I mean, this is a big issue. This isn't printing money or, you know, managing funds for highways. This is something that people go to jail for and people in some cases, some extreme cases get shot, or stabbed or killed over
00:47:10.830 --> 00:47:25.170
Bobby Boxerman: But I think that he has to be removed from the schedule one categorization because there's not enough evidence to put it there in the first place. And it's incredibly odd to me that there's a massive medical marijuana industry in this country.
00:47:26.730 --> 00:47:38.880
Bobby Boxerman: prescribing doctors can prescribe marijuana to people when we don't really know yet what marijuana does to the human body in the same degree that we do something like oxycodone or
00:47:39.480 --> 00:47:50.700
Bobby Boxerman: You know, amphetamines or things like that. And the reason for this is that we don't have the research because we have categorized it in this way that makes it impossible for us to get the research.
00:47:51.690 --> 00:47:57.090
Bobby Boxerman: The National Academy of Sciences released a report the past few years, saying that this is a huge problem.
00:47:57.840 --> 00:48:06.660
Bobby Boxerman: That it's impossible for us as a country as the federal government. It's impossible to fund research on it or to do research on it because it's a schedule one drug
00:48:07.110 --> 00:48:16.170
Bobby Boxerman: So no one wants to allocate those funds or their barriers to doing it. If you want to work with the FDA to study schedule one
00:48:16.560 --> 00:48:26.730
Bobby Boxerman: Substances it's a whole nother. It's a very different process from scheduling, you know, a newly released trial drug or something like that, because it isn't as categorization. It's like a very, it's a vicious cycle.
00:48:27.240 --> 00:48:33.090
Bobby Boxerman: I guess we don't study it because it's a schedule one drug, but it's a schedule one drug because we haven't studied it
00:48:33.960 --> 00:48:47.160
Bobby Boxerman: So we're kind of in this weird spot where whether you're pro or against or for marijuana whatever you're staying answers on it, really. You just don't have that much data to back up your argument. It's mostly anecdotal and it's usually set on precedent.
00:48:47.850 --> 00:49:01.500
Bobby Boxerman: And right now there's actually a court case and the Ninth Circuit going on. And I have a question for you that I'd like to ask you at the end, but a basically an individual's car, I think, and I want to say Maryland and Pennsylvania was searched because
00:49:02.580 --> 00:49:09.780
Bobby Boxerman: A police officer smelled marijuana and he saw joint in the car. They also found a loaded him getting in the car and I think a small amount of cocaine.
00:49:10.170 --> 00:49:16.620
Bobby Boxerman: But the real question here is that we're this guy was driving. He was perfectly within his right legally with
00:49:17.220 --> 00:49:22.890
Bobby Boxerman: By the State's law to have that marijuana has person. So it wasn't, it was illegal for an officer to do that.
00:49:23.310 --> 00:49:30.660
Bobby Boxerman: So the real question there as well. Is it the right or the responsibility of a state or local law enforcement agent to enforce federal law.
00:49:31.440 --> 00:49:45.780
Bobby Boxerman: Which, to me, is a big, big question and this case started in March or late February, if I recall and its ongoing there's no decision yet, but I think whatever decision is reached is going to have extremely overreaching implications.
00:49:45.900 --> 00:49:47.250
Tom Baker: Oh, wow. Yeah, the word
00:49:47.430 --> 00:49:49.590
Bobby Boxerman: Marijuana. It's one
00:49:50.400 --> 00:50:01.260
Tom Baker: I mean, I'm not, I'm not an attorney, but I net when I did the job. I never, I never thought of my job is being to enforce federal laws. It was always
00:50:01.650 --> 00:50:17.760
Tom Baker: I'm here to enforce the statutes for the state of Arizona. Arizona Revised Statutes and any municipal codes within the jurisdiction where I am a sworn police officer and that may involve assisting federal agencies, while they conduct their investigations.
00:50:18.450 --> 00:50:20.040
Tom Baker: It may involve me being
00:50:20.670 --> 00:50:35.220
Tom Baker: I never was. But being sworn in as a federal agent to work with federal agencies, in which case that would change. So then I would think, Okay, well, now I'm sworn in as a federal law enforcement official and I'll be enforcing federal law as well. But as a
00:50:36.810 --> 00:50:51.780
Tom Baker: And again, I'm not an attorney, and this was just how I viewed what I was doing my understanding of the job was that I was a state for work. I was an agent in that, in that particular state, and I would never have occurred to me now if I if I
00:50:53.250 --> 00:51:07.830
Tom Baker: Arrested somebody, and there was a Federal offense that I would then I would book them on my state charges or whatever, and I may contact a federal agency and say, hey, here. You guys are the detective that got assigned the case.
00:51:08.220 --> 00:51:17.490
Tom Baker: may work with federal law enforcement to fire file federal charges, but typically it's so much from my end. Again, my understanding.
00:51:18.180 --> 00:51:25.200
Tom Baker: And having got Donald work testified a federal court and State court on different cases is that
00:51:26.130 --> 00:51:38.160
Tom Baker: And work with a variety of different details within police organization that is so much easier to deal with things at State court. So when you when you have
00:51:38.940 --> 00:51:47.430
Tom Baker: Federal agents and state police officers working together, they typically put everything through the State court so just seems weird to me that a patrol officer.
00:51:47.730 --> 00:51:54.060
Tom Baker: Would pull somebody over and that the argument would be that there is that that because that's kind of what you're saying. The argument is
00:51:54.900 --> 00:52:05.430
Bobby Boxerman: Yeah, I did. I actually got onto the subject because I was interviewing a few police officers from the county to apartment here in St. Louis for an unrelated project.
00:52:06.630 --> 00:52:17.610
Bobby Boxerman: And I spoke to one officer who had been in the forest for four or five years and and he said that one of his concerns that if Missouri moves in the direction of Illinois in these other Levi states is that
00:52:17.940 --> 00:52:22.710
Bobby Boxerman: He can't use marijuana enforcement as a tool and said in his toolbox, which I think is a
00:52:22.950 --> 00:52:33.210
Bobby Boxerman: Very valid concern because I don't know the numbers, but there's a non trivial amount of arrest for more serious crimes that occur because of enforcement marijuana laws, as I'm sure you know as a follow
00:52:33.210 --> 00:52:47.430
Tom Baker: Yeah, I mean it for me. I mean, when I was working in the state of Arizona, that was a really tricky issue that the officers were talking about when they were coming out with with medicinal cannabis was because it's a it was a huge tool.
00:52:48.510 --> 00:52:56.460
Tom Baker: driving through through neighborhood and you're motivated to to find guys with guns find, you know, people doing harm.
00:52:56.850 --> 00:53:05.910
Tom Baker: And a common thing to do is to see a vehicle that you know you whatever was made that the hair on the neck. Stand up a little bit. You think there's something amiss.
00:53:06.240 --> 00:53:16.530
Tom Baker: Something you can probably articulate, maybe not even and so you observe a traffic violation, like a pre textual stop. So you see you. If you follow a car for more than five minutes.
00:53:17.490 --> 00:53:29.280
Tom Baker: Not even like just for 30 seconds and you have this thick book of traffic violations within the state. You just watch it for a minute, and it's going to cross the line fail the signal whatever number of feet.
00:53:30.060 --> 00:53:39.990
Tom Baker: It's very easy. And then you pull them over and it was a it was something that you were just hoping that was going to be there as a way to give you call it, you know, sort of, we would say, I have the car now.
00:53:40.290 --> 00:53:41.850
Tom Baker: Because I smelled cannabis in the car.
00:53:41.940 --> 00:53:51.210
Tom Baker: I have, you know, exigency. It's a moving vehicle, it can leave with the evidence. So now I can search that vehicle and when you make cannabis legal
00:53:52.590 --> 00:53:59.910
Tom Baker: That takes that out of the tool belt and there are, I would imagine there would be a lot of guns that don't get C's and impounded
00:54:00.510 --> 00:54:16.950
Tom Baker: Because that is it is a really as a working police officer. It's a very valuable tool. If your goal is to dig in cars and find guns and make arrests and be, you know, proactive in the way that modern policing thinks of proactive policing.
00:54:19.050 --> 00:54:21.060
Tom Baker: Yeah, so that that is that is fascinating.
00:54:21.930 --> 00:54:29.910
Bobby Boxerman: I spoke to that officer and then later the same day spoken officer who works in the same precinct. And there is a noticeable.
00:54:30.810 --> 00:54:35.400
Bobby Boxerman: Experience gap between them. One has closer to 20 years of experience one has four or five
00:54:36.300 --> 00:54:44.880
Bobby Boxerman: But the officer who has close to 20 years of experience when I asked him, will you know do you think you would lose this tool in your toolbox. Do you think this would be a problem. He says,
00:54:45.660 --> 00:54:51.750
Bobby Boxerman: Well, no, because federally it's still legal and court is going to backup my right to use marijuana is probable cause, even if it's legal in the state.
00:54:52.200 --> 00:54:59.820
Bobby Boxerman: And I thought, I didn't say anything. But I thought, well, these two officers work in the same precinct essentially they at least see each other.
00:55:00.240 --> 00:55:06.000
Bobby Boxerman: But one guy says, well, I can't do this on one says what I can and even to the officers, it's very unclear.
00:55:06.510 --> 00:55:13.530
Bobby Boxerman: So, I mean, this is a problem. It's a problem for your average citizen and it's also, I think, huge problem for law enforcement agents who haven't really been given direction.
00:55:14.130 --> 00:55:28.260
Bobby Boxerman: And how to enforce federal law or state law in some cases even like local ordinances versus federal law, as you know, I'm sure in St. Louis. It's just an ordinance violation. Now for small amounts of marijuana. It's not a serious offense.
00:55:28.710 --> 00:55:37.170
Bobby Boxerman: So I think for me, that's the biggest thing, it's just incredibly odd that there's such disjunction between local, state, and federal laws. I'm at one, is it just doesn't make sense. It's confusing.
00:55:38.130 --> 00:55:46.980
Tom Baker: It is, I mean, I'm confused. And I couldn't tell you, like, what the like what the rule would be and and it's it's going up to the Supreme Court, or is it. Do you know what this
00:55:46.980 --> 00:55:51.930
Bobby Boxerman: Is the Ninth Circuit, as far as I know, there hasn't been any updates.
00:55:53.640 --> 00:56:04.980
Bobby Boxerman: As far as the decision. I'm not sure if the pandemic situation has, you know, drawn out the process, but I, this isn't something I really started reading about until the other day.
00:56:05.910 --> 00:56:13.650
Bobby Boxerman: You know, kind of preparing to talk to you about this area as well. I don't really know much about this and mostly it's been precedent. So there's a handful of states where has gone to like a State court.
00:56:13.980 --> 00:56:19.020
Bobby Boxerman: And for the most part, courts have backed up. Will you can still use probable cause, because as, as you know,
00:56:19.500 --> 00:56:23.130
Bobby Boxerman: vehicular searches is kind of an exception to the Fourth Amendment.
00:56:23.520 --> 00:56:28.290
Bobby Boxerman: So, you know, law enforcement has a considerable considerable amount of leeway. So it's mostly
00:56:28.530 --> 00:56:37.440
Bobby Boxerman: Based on precedent out but like there's no federal precedent and there's plenty of states that have yet to have that arise. So when it does. It'll be the first time and you know if the
00:56:37.890 --> 00:56:50.340
Bobby Boxerman: If the defendant chooses to press charges or you know appeal, then there will be a precedent. But right now, as of now. There's just, there's no there's no hard and fast rule.
00:56:51.240 --> 00:56:59.280
Tom Baker: It'll be it'll be interesting to see because that, like you said, that's going to have major implications and the way people police officers do business on a daily basis. So that'll be something I remember
00:56:59.670 --> 00:57:03.540
Tom Baker: I think I remember seeing the headlines but haven't looked into it, but I'm going to definitely keep my eye on that.
00:57:04.620 --> 00:57:14.130
Tom Baker: You just taught you mentioned, like the like the that this is a real thing that there's a cost to this like the Pete, that this is a political issue, but there are people who
00:57:14.670 --> 00:57:20.820
Tom Baker: Go to jail. You know there are people who go to prison. There are people you know there's violence, there's, there's all these things that can happen with with
00:57:22.050 --> 00:57:27.360
Tom Baker: With this being enforced, but it's also the there's a cost on police departments.
00:57:27.960 --> 00:57:38.220
Tom Baker: There is a huge resource suck. There's a lot of man hours and woman hours that go towards enforcing these laws and there's also danger involved. I'm I know
00:57:39.150 --> 00:57:49.260
Tom Baker: One of my first classes. I took as a police officer when I was wasn't like a drug interdiction course. And one of the instructors. Shortly afterwards, was killed.
00:57:50.850 --> 00:57:56.130
Tom Baker: Serving as like an undercover sort of operation and it was cannabis, you know,
00:57:57.270 --> 00:58:00.390
Tom Baker: And there you have these
00:58:00.690 --> 00:58:02.010
Tom Baker: Violent encounters.
00:58:03.150 --> 00:58:22.140
Tom Baker: enforcing these laws that on something that is now legal and other places. And it just seems it seems very strange that we would allow that, that, that there's this sort of consensus that's developed, but we're still going to send in SWAT teams to serve search warrants on people.
00:58:22.530 --> 00:58:23.220
Tom Baker: Yeah, it just
00:58:24.480 --> 00:58:25.200
Tom Baker: Blows my mind.
00:58:26.550 --> 00:58:31.410
Tom Baker: The other thing I wanted to to to to talk about. And then I'm going to let you go was
00:58:33.180 --> 00:58:41.250
Tom Baker: This post so posts covert and if someone's listening to this, you know, a couple years from now, they may be, like, why they keep talking, you know, who knows.
00:58:41.640 --> 00:58:42.810
But it does seem right.
00:58:44.400 --> 00:58:44.940
Tom Baker: Yeah.
00:58:47.220 --> 00:58:51.630
Tom Baker: It does feel it does feel as though. Like I'm I'm 42 years old.
00:58:51.690 --> 00:59:02.700
Tom Baker: And I've always liked since I was young. I've always been, you know, tried to pay attention and be a good citizen and be aware of what's happening, politically, and I can't think of a single time that
00:59:03.660 --> 00:59:13.020
Tom Baker: Like this, in terms of like being this much of a disruption to so many people and to our economy and
00:59:14.490 --> 00:59:21.000
Tom Baker: When this sort of starts back up, do you are you can. Are you concerned about
00:59:25.380 --> 00:59:33.450
Tom Baker: Opportunities like for for research for like state state revenues drying up you're coming you're leaving
00:59:35.910 --> 00:59:45.720
Tom Baker: You know career where you can make you know good money and good stability, people are always going to need engineers are you worried about, or do you or do you see
00:59:46.470 --> 00:59:52.200
Tom Baker: This is maybe an opportunity where the State says, hey, we need to stay MADE THE ECONOMY RESEARCH will be within what are you thinking right now.
00:59:53.550 --> 01:00:03.570
Bobby Boxerman: I think as, as is the case with all graduate students in the social sciences. There's always that ever present feared that a the revenue or the funding will dry up or whatever.
01:00:05.160 --> 01:00:09.450
Bobby Boxerman: I don't think that will go away for any of us ever to be honest.
01:00:10.680 --> 01:00:12.180
Bobby Boxerman: But I don't know. That's a good question.
01:00:13.410 --> 01:00:20.640
Bobby Boxerman: I think we'll have to see how this continues to play out because it is such an unprecedented time for everyone.
01:00:21.060 --> 01:00:28.680
Bobby Boxerman: I mean the world the modern world has never experienced something like this before. So everything that's happening to me at least, is very much like new territory.
01:00:29.400 --> 01:00:39.960
Bobby Boxerman: I would, I would say with caution that we will, as a nation, recover from this and I think there will be some, you know, kind of aftershocks that are felt
01:00:40.260 --> 01:00:45.930
Bobby Boxerman: And they may be felt a little harder amongst some of us who aren't in what I would deem like more essential industries.
01:00:46.830 --> 01:00:57.780
Bobby Boxerman: Like, I don't have any doubt that the state in the country will take a hit as far as like discretionary funding to give to you know research projects and grants and stuff. But I also think that there is the opportunity for some kind of research.
01:00:58.500 --> 01:01:05.790
Bobby Boxerman: You know rosenfeld's talking the other day about like the drops in crime as a result of the pandemic. And I think that's an interesting thing.
01:01:06.510 --> 01:01:20.700
Bobby Boxerman: I think it may close. Some avenues but open others. For instance, like geospatial crime patterns is something that I find very interesting and I think that something like a pandemic has implications for how crime occurs geographically
01:01:21.510 --> 01:01:26.040
Bobby Boxerman: So I think that could be you know possible area center. And I also think that
01:01:26.280 --> 01:01:35.400
Bobby Boxerman: You know, Dr. Peter does some really interesting stuff between more and crime in many ways, I think the effects of the war. In some areas, and the effects of like a pandemic like this can be
01:01:36.090 --> 01:01:51.090
Bobby Boxerman: Compared at least. So, you know, I think that there will be some new avenues and I think that like we as a field might suffer a little in the short term, but the fact of the matter is crime in the United States, frankly, isn't going anywhere.
01:01:52.350 --> 01:01:59.490
Bobby Boxerman: In the world. I think for the foreseeable future optimistically, it would, you know, some point disappear, but, uh,
01:02:00.120 --> 01:02:11.520
Bobby Boxerman: I think we both know that that's not going to happen in either of our lifetime. So I wouldn't worry too much about it, especially like if there's some young hopeful master student watching this, like, you shouldn't be. You should just
01:02:12.870 --> 01:02:16.860
Bobby Boxerman: Keep reading and stuff, but at the same time make yourself as marketable as you can.
01:02:18.060 --> 01:02:28.080
Bobby Boxerman: You know, take advantage of this time as I think most of us are trying to to maybe read some papers that we stand in the way that that are interesting or, you know, read a book about
01:02:28.650 --> 01:02:36.030
Bobby Boxerman: Whatever topic that we just haven't really gotten around to because we've been swamped at school, although I was telling you the other day, it seems as though I'm busier now than I was.
01:02:36.930 --> 01:02:49.800
Bobby Boxerman: When I didn't have to drive to work in school and all that stuff. So I have more time and more stressed out, not meeting deadlines than before. But, uh, yeah. I think the long and short of it is that the field will be okay.
01:02:52.110 --> 01:02:54.300
Tom Baker: Thank you very much, that's very reassuring.
01:02:55.740 --> 01:02:56.190
Bobby Boxerman: I have
01:02:56.460 --> 01:02:58.470
Bobby Boxerman: Almost no evidence to back that on but you
01:02:59.400 --> 01:03:01.680
Tom Baker: Know that's good and and i think it's
01:03:02.820 --> 01:03:18.930
Tom Baker: In my and my hope is, is that we we recognize that we're going to, we're going to need to invest in, or this is some things that only the state can can manage and this recovery is going to take a massive amount of stated events already has already happened, and I hope that
01:03:19.980 --> 01:03:22.620
Tom Baker: We recognize that as we move forward. We're going to need
01:03:22.680 --> 01:03:23.850
Tom Baker: People who are
01:03:25.230 --> 01:03:28.560
Tom Baker: well informed and have the skills to
01:03:29.220 --> 01:03:44.790
Tom Baker: Analyze problems and examine data so that policymakers can make informed decisions as we move forward. So I hope that people like yourself, people like me, I would like to be able to get a job and and be able to eat, so that we can talk about interesting things and
01:03:44.850 --> 01:03:54.840
Tom Baker: Today we make better decisions, as a society, do you have anything any sort of Final Thoughts about this or anything that you'd like people listening to us to keep in mind.
01:03:55.410 --> 01:04:00.420
Bobby Boxerman: Yeah, actually, this is just pandemic related, but I think it's important to remember that.
01:04:00.960 --> 01:04:11.310
Bobby Boxerman: We as a world are going to come out of the covert virus, you know, maybe a little wiser, but we need to keep in mind what's happening now and realize that things could be worse than they are now. And it's very possible.
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Bobby Boxerman: A year after you know cope with viruses managed, there's something similar that happens that is more serious or has, you know, more serious effects.
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Bobby Boxerman: And that we should not assume that this was a one off thing because frankly the world we live in is extremely interconnected. I mean, the fact that this disease originated to our belief in China is now a global phenomenon within a matter of months just speaks to
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Bobby Boxerman: The implications for how seriously we should be taking this and we shouldn't kind of wipe our brows. At the end of this and go okay, we're in the clear. Like, we need to
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Bobby Boxerman: Kind of plan better ahead because we may not be as lucky. Next time, not to be insensitive to the people who are extremely old who have passed away, but
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Bobby Boxerman: The numbers are much older, they could be. I mean, you know, my generation particular feels as though they don't really need to worry about that but
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Bobby Boxerman: You know that could change if there's a different virus or a different strain or something like that in the future. So we need to realize that we are extremely lucky in that this could happen again, we should be prepared.
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Tom Baker: Yeah and that like the 1918 flu. It came the United States if they
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Tom Baker: Got to control it cooked. Another place other parts of the world. And then that was the second wave, I believe, where the majority of the deaths.
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Tom Baker: To play so it would make sense that this is a we view ourselves as relatively lucky. But then as we look forward
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Tom Baker: To make sure that we're creating the structures that are required to, you know, absorb shock like this in the future so that this isn't such a
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Tom Baker: Such a traumatic event for our society and the future. So that's, that's fantastic advice. Thank you very much for for taking the time tonight, and I look forward to seeing your future.
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Bobby Boxerman: Yeah, really fun.
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Bobby Boxerman: I had a good time. Thanks. Alright. Have a good evening.