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Marijuana Law Classes Appearing in Law School Curricula
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Law schools are beginning to offer marijuana legislation classes.

Summary: Law schools are beginning to offer marijuana legislation courses, allowing students to stay current on the status of legalization laws across the country.

The debate about legalizing marijuana has been heating up in courtrooms nationwide, and it looks like law students are joining the debate in their classrooms as well. According to the Wall Street Journal, many schools are beginning to offer classes that focus on the legalization of marijuana and the implications of the substance becoming legal.


For example, Vanderbilt University Law School has introduced a class called “Marijuana Law and Policy,” and other schools are following suit. Professor Robert Mikos, who will teach the class at Vanderbilt, said, “For most students, this is an inherently interesting topic. They read about it in the media all the time, and so many are curious about it. As more states confront this issue, the interest will only grow.”

Roughly 75% of Americans think that legalization of marijuana will happen.

The course catalog calls the class “an in-depth look at the competing approaches to regulating marijuana, the rationales behind these approaches, and where legal authority resides for choosing among them.”

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In addition, at least two more courses will be taught about marijuana in the spring: “Representing the Marijuana Client” at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law,” to be taught by Sam Kamin; David Ball will host a “mini think tank” at Santa Clara University School of Law about the effects the legalization of recreational marijuana in California will have on the state. Professor Ball’s students will research issues such as advertising and taxation, and will share their findings with an American Civil Liberties Union panel that is studying the implications of legalizing marijuana. Ball is a member of the panel, which is led by California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.The issue could be on the ballot as soon as 2016, the ACLU has said.

Ball commented, “When I was appointed to the panel, I thought, ‘This is a good opportunity for my students to write on something that will be of immediate interest to people in California.’” The students will also write a blog that posts theirlatest research.

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Law schools nationwide have begun offering a wide range of courses on a multitude of nontraditional subjects, such as neuroscience, video games and robotics.

In 2012, Colorado was the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Voters passed a ballot measure to legalize pot for residents who were 21 years of age and over. Washington began selling retail pot in July.

Colorado will allow any resident to sell pot.

Last month, Oregon and Alaska voters also approved recreational marijuana measures. In Washington, D.C., voters passed a ballot initiative that will allow citizens 21 and older to have up to two ounces of marijuana.

However, not all states are on board with legalizing marijuana. Last week, Oklahoma and Nebraska filed suit in the U.S. Supreme Court against Colorado, arguing that its legalization laws have triggered interstate drug trafficking and violate federal law.

Read about the suit here.

Kamin, who will be teaching one of the new marijuana law classes, says that his class is the first of its kind and will help students learn how to represent growers, retailers, and government regulators. “Almost every lawyer in the state needs to know something about this. I’ve had people asking me to teach this class for a while. They’re hungry for this knowledge,” he explained.

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