Monday, March 22, 2021
I have been privileged to have the opportunity to teach a seminar on marijuana reform nearly every year at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law since way back in Fall 2013. This opportunity in part helped lead to (a) the creation of this blog in 2013, (b) the establishment of The Ohio State University's Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) in 2017, and (c) the publication of the text Marijuana Law and Policy by Carolina Academic Press in 2020.
More broadly, teaching a seminar on marijuana reform multiple times over the last decade has been so interesting (and a lot of fun). Recent years have brought historic policy changes expressed in formal laws and market practices, in Ohio and nationwide, and law students have brought great energy and insights into the classroom as we work together to figure out the realities of the past, present and future of reform. (Some of the great work by students in my more recent marijuana reform seminars now appear in the DEPC's student paper series).
When I started teaching my marijuana reform class in 2013, I was not surprised to learn that there were few other courses like it and I knew I would need to assemble my own materials for classroom use. But now there are three law school texts dedicated to this topic (and another focused on illegal drugs), and yet it still seems as though there are relatively few classes in the typical law school curriculum focus on either the "war on drugs" generally or the changing legal landscapes of marijuana policy in particular.
The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center has been engaged since its founding on how law schools currently approach these issues and to identify how drug policy and law could be better incorporated into law school curricula. In a April 2019 workshop, DEPC assembled 20+ legal scholars who work in this space to begin identifying law school courses currently taught and the primary obstacles to teaching this subject matter. Most recently, DEPC conducted a third survey of all accredited law schools in the U.S. on this topic. The results show that the vast majority of law schools do not teach courses touching on drugs or the evolving legal structures around cannabis, and this is true even for law schools located in states with legalized cannabis markets. (I am pleased that the Moritz College of Law is an exception, and I sincerely believe both law faculty and law students would benefit greatly from more attention to these issues in the law school curricula.)
In an effort to support more law schools offering law course dealing with drug-related issues and marijuana reform topics, DEPC has created this ever-developing website to host teaching resources, reports, course information and other content. As we continue to build out these resources, we’d like to get feedback as well as build a community of instructors teaching in this area.
Do you teach (or would like to teach) a law course touching on drugs or the legal structures around cannabis? Tell us about yourself and share your interest in future programing. Take the short survey at go.osu.edu/teaching-drugs-survey.