For good or bad, cannabis is ever present in American life. This course explores the gradual legalization of cannabis in the United States juxtaposing it in part against Prohibition, considers policy rationales ranging from revenue for state coffers to emerging views relating to criminalization and punishment, and then analyzes in detail the myriad of existing and emerging legal areas that are impacted by the state legalization of a substance that remains illegal under Federal law. Among the areas of the public and private law that the course will address are the following: (1) state regulation of medical and recreational cannabis use; (2) criminal law; (3) contractual and commercial law issues for cannabis companies; (4) bankruptcy and assignment for benefit of creditors’ (“ABC”) law; (5) securities law and financial markets regulation; (6) employment law issues; and (7) the future of cannabis law in dual state and Federal settings.
The course begins in a lecture format primarily, moves to a more discussion-oriented approach, and concludes at the end of the semester with student team presentations on a topic selected by the student team and pre-approved by the instructor. Students will be evaluated collectively on an A-F scale on the basis of their team presentation (which will constitute 30% of the student’s grade) and individually on the basis of an individual five thousand (5,000) word journal quality paper (which will constitute the remaining 70% of the student’s grade).
In the case of the presentation, students will work with one other student of his/her/their choice on selecting a topic of interest to them that is then approved by the instructor. They will then each present (in equal duration) their group presentation over an aggregate thirty to forty-five minute time period to the other seminar participants and instructor. With respect to the student paper, students will each be solely responsible for and assigned separate grades in connection with each respective student’s paper.