Nationally known experts to discuss legalization of marijuana

Published: October 15 2014


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – From its health effects to law enforcement concerns to its uncertain legal status, the legalization of marijuana raises public concerns and piques interest, intrigue and debate. The issue of legalizing marijuana is especially timely in Florida because Florida voters will decide on Nov. 4 whether to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.

This year’s Allen L. Poucher Legal Education Series will bring together the nation's leading experts on marijuana law, medicinal marijuana, and public policy to discuss the multiple dimensions of marijuana legalization.

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

About the panelists

David Blake 
David Blake is the deputy attorney general for legal policy and government affairs of Colorado, appointed by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers in 2011. Prior to joining the Colorado Department of Law in 2010, Blake served in a variety of roles with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, including as special assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, counsel to the Guantanamo Detainee Review Task Force, and as a trial attorney in the civil division. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper appointed Blake to serve on a task force that proposed rules for recreational marijuana in the state after Colorado voters legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012. He recently co-authored an article, “Marijuana Legalization in Colorado: Learned Lessons” in the Harvard Law & Policy Review that detailed how Colorado implemented a regulatory regime for marijuana. Blake is a graduate of the George Mason University School of Law.

Dr. Carl Hart
Carl Hart is an associate professor of psychology in both the departments of psychiatry and psychology at Columbia University, and the director of residential studies and methamphetamine research laboratories at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. A major focus of Hart’s research is to understand complex interactions between drugs of abuse and the neurobiology and environmental factors that mediate human behavior and physiology. He is the author and co-author of dozens of peer-reviewed scientific articles in the area of neuropsychopharmacology, co-author of the textbook, Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior, and a member of a National Institute of Health review group. He was awarded the 2014 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award for his memoir "High Price," for its "...compelling argument to reconsider this country's policies on drug use..."  Hart was recently elected to fellow status by the American Psychological Association (Division 28) for his outstanding contribution to the field of psychology, specifically psychopharmacology and substance abuse. In addition to his substantial research responsibilities, Hart teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and was recently awarded Columbia University's highest teaching award.

Dr. Beau Kilmer
Beau Kilmer is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, where he codirects the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. His research lies at the intersection of public health and public safety, with a special emphasis on substance use, illicit markets, crime, and public policy. Some of his current projects include estimating the size of illegal drug markets, assessing the consequences of alternative marijuana policies, measuring the effect of South Dakota's 24/7 Sobriety Program on drunk driving and domestic violence outcomes, and evaluating other innovative programs intended to reduce crime and violence. Kilmer's research has appeared in leading journals such as Addiction, American Journal of Public Health, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and his commentaries have been published by CNN, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. His co-authored book on marijuana legalization (with Jonathan Caulkins, Angela Hawken, and Mark Kleiman) was published by Oxford University Press. He earned his BA from Michigan State University, MPP from the University of California-Berkeley, and his PhD from Harvard University.

Dr. Bertha K. Madras
Bertha Madras is a professor of psychobiology in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, currently at McLean Hospital, and chair of the Harvard Medical School’s NEPRC Division of Neurochemistry. In public policy, she was nominated by President George W. Bush and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the deputy director for demand reduction (prevention, treatment) in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. She promoted medicalization, evidence-based practices for treatment, and drug courts. She is author of more than 170 scientific manuscripts, book chapters and commentaries, and recently co-edited books on the “Effects of Drug Abuse on the Human Nervous System” and the “Cell Biology of Addiction”. She is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) MERIT award, a NIDA Public Service Award, others, and 19 patents. She has served on over 50 NIH committees and other advisory boards, and is a current adviser to the NFL and U.S. Attorney’s Office in California. She directed a NIDA-sponsored exhibit titled “Changing your Mind: Drugs in the Brain,” at the Museum of Science in Boston, which included an electronic teaching program licensed by Disney in 2006.

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

Dr. Scott Teitelbaum
Scott Teitelbaum is a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine and is the vice chair of the psychiatry department. Teitelbaum is certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine and directs the Florida Recovery Center, the state of Florida's premiere treatment program for drug and alcohol addiction located at the University of Florida. Additionally, he is the immediate past president of the Florida Society of Addiction Medicine. Teitelbaum was inducted into the Conway Hunter Society in 2010, a national recognition for his leadership in addiction medicine. He is a co-author of "Weed: Family Guide to Marijuana Myths and Facts." Before earning his medical degree from Rochester University, he received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Lehigh University. Teitelbaum led a major pediatric private practice for 10 years before completing a postdoctoral fellowship in addiction medicine and another in child psychiatry at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

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

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



Media contacts: Matthew Christ and Dustin Mauser at, 352-273-0670.