The fast changing environment surrounding the various marijuana legalization reforms has created a new demand for relevant courses covering this evolving field. The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law was the first in the country to offer a marijuana-specific course in 2013 taught by Professor Berman. Given the growing popularity of the class and increasing demand from our students, additional courses are now being offered focusing on the business law aspect of marijuana reforms as well as their potential impact on the criminal justice field.

2018 Fall Course Offering

Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform Seminar

Course Description:

In the United States, the control and regulation of marijuana use has been a recurring legal and social problem, commanding significant political attention and public resources.  Contemporary state-level reforms of marijuana laws has raised significant new constitutional, legal, political and practical issues; policy concerns relating to states rights, local government law, race, gender, public health, crime, political economy, and bioethics also intersect with modern marijuana law and policy reform. In this seminar, we will examine the social and historical backdrop of intoxicant prohibition, and assess the legal reforms and political debates now having an impact on the control and regulation of marijuana distribution and use.


Douglas A. Berman
Robert J. Watkins/Procter & Gamble Professor of Law
Executive Director
Drug Enforcement and Policy Center

Cannabiz: Exploring the Legalization of Marijuana

Course Description:

This course is an exploration of the risks inherent in entrepreneurial enterprises, and the ways in which entrepreneurs embrace the possibility of failure, the loss of investment capital, and even the loss of personal freedom to pursue opportunities at the frontiers of legal boundaries.

Despite voters and legislators opening a path for medical marijuana use or full recreational marijuana use in 29 states, the Era of Trump (and rescission the Cole Memo) signals a trend toward a far less permissive federal approach to the cannabis industry.  As an increasingly legitimate industry grows exponentially, the federal executive branch may seek to undermine both the growth and legitimacy of the cannabis industry.  With billions of dollars already invested in state-level companies, and a fully legalized cannabis industry just north of the border in Canada, the course will explore the nuanced dance that is the operation of a state-level business that is illegal at the federal level. 

This course is designed to provide a focused business perspective on decriminalization and legalization initiatives, and was specifically conceived to dovetail with Professor Berman’s existing seminar on marijuana history, policy, and general non-business topics.


Benton B. Bodamer
Adjunct Faculty
Member at Dickinson Wright PLLC, Columbus

Drug Crimes

Course Description:

Almost fifty years ago, President Nixon declared drug abuse to be “public enemy number one in America.” In the decades since, the drug war has dramatically changed our criminal justice system. The number of Americans incarcerated for drug offenses today is larger than the entire United States prison and jail population was in 1980. Drug enforcement has also changed policing, by incentivizing profiling and pretextual stops and increasing the use of intrusive investigative strategies like wiretapping. Despite the vigorous enforcement of drug prohibition, however, its wisdom continues to be debated. This course examines the policy and legal doctrine of drug criminalization, including coverage of the major drug offenses (possession, possession with intent to distribute, manufacture, and more), drug sentencing laws, and the law of drug investigations. (Although this course considers alternatives to drug criminalization, it does not include significant coverage of marijuana legalization laws, which are addressed in the Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform Seminar.)


Alex Kreit
Visiting Faculty
Professor of Law
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Co-Director, Criminal Law Fellowship Program
Co-Director, Center for Criminal Law and Policy