Conflicts of Law Regarding Recreational Marijuana (Cannabis) Laws in the U.S.

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This post is a continuation of the exploration of this subject in an earlier blog post.

The 2016 election saw the voters of 4 states—California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada-- elect to legalize recreational use by adults of marijuana in their jurisdictions while the 5th state where the issue was on the ballot, Arizona, voted not to legalize the use. This brings to 8 (the others being Colorado, Washington. Oregon and Alaska) the number of states where recreational use of cannabis has been legalized. (A complete listing of the status of laws regarding cannabis in U.S. jurisdictions can be found here.)

Sugary Drinks Taxation

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Sugary drinks (including carbonated drinks or soda) taxes were on the ballot in several countries and cities this year. With the World Health Organization’s October 11, 2016 promotion of taxing sugary drinks as a way to curtail their consumption and health impacts, it is likely that more jurisdictions will join those who have instituted such taxes. However, there is not universal acceptance of the necessity or efficacy of such taxes.  It appears to be a good time to take a look at this global effort to improve health and the arguments for and against it.

Panama Papers Database

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On May 9, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) posted the documents, known as the Panama Papers, leaked by “John Doe” from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.  Despite a cease and desist order being issued to prevent it being made public, the database can be found at offshoreleaks.icij.org.  The Panama Papers include over 11 million financial and legal records that give insight into the use of secret off-shore companies.

Paris Climate Agreement Updates: Progress and a Problem for U.S. Policy & the Future of the Agreement

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Progress
On April 22, 2016, Earth Day, at the Signing Ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters, the Paris Climate Agreement was signed by 175 countries-- more countries signed on the first day the agreement was open for signatures than had for any previous international agreement. This marks the first step toward ensuring that the Agreement enters into legal force as quickly as possible.  The agreement becomes operational when it is approved or ratified by 55 countries representing 55% of global greenhouse emissions.

Iran Nuclear Accord – Voluntary Commitments or Binding Obligations?

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You may have heard that the sanctions imposed on Iran because of their nuclear program were lifted on January 16, 2016 in accordance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) –the formal name for the Iran Nuclear Accord-- concluded in Vienna on July 14, 2015 and which went into effect October 18, 2015.

One of the criticisms of the JCPOA has been that it consists of “voluntary commitments” exchanged on a reciprocal basis.  There is no language of binding obligation found in the agreement itself.  Nor is there any understanding by any of the parties that it contains any other than “voluntary commitments”.