Welcome to the blog for the Seminar on Marijuana and the Law!

U.S. cannabis law is rapidly evolving. As of September 2020, 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational adult use, with four states considering it on the ballot in November 2020 [link: https://ballotpedia.org/Marijuana_laws_in_the_United_States]

In Minnesota, where I teach business law at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, proponents have introduced a detailed measure to legalize and regulate adult-use recreational marijuana [link to Winkler press release: https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/profile/news/15271/29699] , but it faces stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate.

This fall, building on that momentum, Jason Tarasek and I are teaching a seminar course at Mitchell Hamline School of Law on Marijuana and the Law. Law school seminars focus on a topic for discussion and in-depth learning, and then students choose a particular topic within that on which they research and write a long legal research paper in the law review style.

Our class explores many facets of the complex issues around marijuana and the law, including the history of marijuana policy in the U.S., the War on Drugs, and its criminal justice impacts. We survey the recent state actions to legalize medical and adult-use marijuana and consider policy and compliance issues. Specifically, in states that have legalized under state law, complex legal and practical issues emerge due to marijuana’s continuing status as a Schedule I controlled drug at the federal level, including banking difficulties for cannabis businesses and employment law issues. During the class, we will hear from and interact with speakers with different perspectives and experiences touching on these issues, including policymakers on both sides of the debate.

I am very pleased to be co-teaching this class with Jason Tarasek, a Minnesota attorney and the founder of Minnesota Cannabis Law [link: https://minnesotacannabislaw.com/]. Through Minnesota Cannabis Law, Jason represents hemp farmers, processors and related professionals throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, and he has deep knowledge about legalization policy in Minnesota and throughout the United States.

This blog, however, is designed to primarily feature our students. They have begun identifying topics for their long papers, and they are interested in deeply important, focused topics about marijuana and the law, including:

  • How marijuana offenses are treated in child custody disputes, and evolving practices and best practices in legalized states
  • The disproportionate impact of the criminalization of marijuana on communities of color and the varied proposals for how tax revenues from legalization can be used to support reparation efforts
  • Estate planning issues raised by marijuana legalization
  • The use of drug court and drug diversion programs
  • Child protection law and practice and the impacts from legalization
  • The opiod crisis and marijuana policy

My hope is that we can share some of what we are learning and thinking about here, as a way to expand our conversations and our research beyond the classroom.

Disclaimers: This post, and all other posts on this blog, are the work of each individual. They do not represent the views of, and are not endorsed by, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Minnesota Cannabis Law, other persons named herein, other members of the class or its professors. Also, nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice. Do not rely on it.

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