The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center focuses on promoting and supporting interdisciplinary, evidence-based research, scholarship, education, community outreach and public engagement on the myriad issues and societal impacts surrounding the reform of criminal and civil laws prohibiting or regulating the use and distribution of traditionally illicit drugs. The Center examines the impact of modern drug laws, policies and enforcement on personal freedoms and human well-being, giving particularized and sustained attention to analyzing the rapid evolution of marijuana laws and the impacts of state-level reform efforts.

Upcoming Event: Buckeyes in Cannabis


Learn more and register here:

Social Equity Assessment Tool for the Cannabis Industry

Starting in 1996 with the state of California legalizing the use of medical cannabis, the wave of cannabis legalization has continued at a rapid pace. But with the growth comes increased acknowledgement that the benefits and financial profits of the legal cannabis industry are not flowing to the communities that have been disproportionately harmed by past drug policies as enacted during the War on Drugs.

The Drugs Enforcement and Policy Center supported our recent alumni, Chris Nani ('19), in his work on the Social Equity Assessment Tool, which localities around the country can use to evaluate the relative effectiveness of their existing social equity programs or help them design a new effective program sensitive to their environment. The tool incorporates ten components that are critical for successful social equity programs. The ten components are grouped into two categories – Accessibility (Eligibility, Application Process, Expungements, Preferential Licenses and Shareholder/Ownership Requirements) and Environment (Educational Services, Incubator Program, Zoning Regulations and License Caps, Government Responsiveness and Community Reinvestment). Accessibility encompasses components that affect the ease with which applicants can learn about and access a given program. Environment on the other hand encompasses factors that form a support structure for SEP applicants and their communities.

Read "Social Equity Assessment Tool for the Cannabis Industry"

Read other papers from our Student Research Paper Series. 

Controlled Substances Act at 50 Years - Call for Papers

The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center is partnering with the Arizona State University's Academy for Justice on a conference to look back on how the Controlled Substances Act has helped shape modern American drug laws and policies and to look forward toward the direction these laws could and should take in the next 50 years.

The conference, “The Controlled Substances Act at 50 Years,” will take place on February 20-22, 2020, at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in Phoenix, Arizona.  As part of this conference we are soliciting papers for the February 22 scholarship workshop. Junior scholars are encouraged to submit abstracts by August 15th and will be paired with a senior scholar to review and discuss the paper.

Each paper should reflect on the past, present or future of the Controlled Substances Act and drug policy in the United States.  Participants should have a draft to discuss and circulate by February 10. The papers will be gathered and published in a symposium edition of the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, a peer-reviewed publication.  Participants should have a completed version to begin the publication process by March 15.  Final papers may range in length from 5,000 words to 20,000 words.

For more information about the conference and how to submit an abstract, please visit the conference website.

DEPC Student Research Paper Series

The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center's Student Research Paper Series is designed to highlight research by Ohio State students in the area of drug policy. Students from any discipline are welcome to submit their paper for inclusion. Students retain all rights to their paper as well as the ability to publish their paper with any journal should they choose to do so at a later date.


To submit your paper for inclusion, please email Jana Hrdinova at

Cannabiz Innovation Sprint

In the spring of 2019, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center partnered with the Center for Innovation Strategies on a brand new student case competition focused on the cannabis industry titled Cannabiz Innovation Sprint. For 6-weeks, teams of students went through four 1-hour workshops to develop cutting-edge innovative concepts to one of today’s most unique emerging markets.

Each workshop was attended by industry leaders looking for student talent to employ for future internships and investment opportunities. The sprint concluded  with a closed-door pitch event on April 4 where each of the final 9 teams pitched their product, program, or concept to a panel of judges.  $1,500 in prizes was given away!

The sprint will take place again in the fall of 2019. Please click on the link below to find out more about the sprint and how you can take part.


2018 DEPC Research Grant Awards

We are excited to announce the award of two research grants as part of our inaugural 2018 Research Grant Program. The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) funds an annual research grant program for Ohio State faculty and graduate students focused on supporting academic research on issues related to the reform of criminal and civil laws prohibiting or regulating the use and distribution of traditionally illicit drugs. The Center supports scholarship that examines the impact of modern drug laws, policies and enforcement on personal freedoms and human well-being.


Deterrence or indifference?: Opioid users’ perceptions of anti-drug laws
Eric LaPlant, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University

Moral Panics, Race, and the Criminalization of Marijuana in the Early 20th Century
Michael Vuolo, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University

For more details, please visit our research page.