Courses

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.

Autumn 2021 Course Offerings

First Amendment

Course Description:

Advanced study of First Amendment precedent and doctrines governing the press, speech, association, and church-state relations.

Instructor:

Michael Zuckerman

Term(s) offered:

Autumn 2021

Drug Law Enforcement & the Bill of Rights

Course Description:

This seminar offers a constitutional legal history of drug control in the United States. Weekly reading assignments will guide us through a century of conflict over how users and sellers of prohibited substances may be treated by representatives of the government in the course of enforcing drug laws. The Bill of Rights has long been invoked by both individuals and states against the very idea of a federal war on drugs. But local, state, and federal police have all used a broad range of questionable tactics in pursuit, nominally, of American abstinence. Drug raids, investigations, and arrests have often resulted in unfair and brutal violations of individual liberty. At times these incidents led to significant developments in constitutional law, particularly with regard to the rights of criminal defendants. After World War II, federal courts began confronting enforcers’ various abridgments including violent coercion, warrantless searching, eavesdropping, planting evidence, using confidential informants, and other forms of entrapment. In addition to creating openings for, and then limiting, Fourth and Fifth Amendment defenses against drug crimes, rulings in drug cases helped to clarify issues of privacy, states’ rights, free speech, and religious freedom.

Instructor:

Sarah Brady Siff

Term(s) offered:

Autumn 2021, Spring 2021

Cannabiz: Exploring the "Legalized" Cannabis Industry from a Corporate Transactional Perspective

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.

Instructor:

Benton B. Bodamer

Term(s) offered:

Autumn 2021, Autumn 2020, Autumn 2019, Autumn 2018

Criminal Law

Course Description:

Criminal Law covers the moral and penological principles underlying the definition of crime, such as the requirements of actus reus and mens rea, and general doctrines such as mistakes of fact and law, and causation. The course also considers inchoate offenses, such as criminal attempts and conspiracy, as well as doctrines of complicity. The course also considers full and partial defenses to crimes, such as self-defense, provocation, and insanity. In considering the process of translating these principles into law, specific offenses, such as criminal homicide and rape, and their development through the common law and modern statutes, are studied in detail.

Instructor:

Douglas A. Berman, Sean Hill

Term(s) offered:

Autumn 2021, Autumn 2020

Previous Course Offerings

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.

Instructor:

Douglas A. Berman

Term(s) offered:

Spring 2020, Spring 2019, Autumn 2018

Federal and State Clemency Decision-making

Course Description:

Introduction to the legal, political and practical considerations influencing clemency decision-making by Governors and Presidents in the U.S.

Instructor:

Douglas A. Berman

Term(s) offered:

Spring 2020

Legislation and Regulation

Course Description:

Legislatures and the administrative agencies they empower are the sources of most lawmaking and law implementation in contemporary society. Thus while other first year courses dominantly involve the work of the courts and the reading of judicial opinions, this course focuses on legislatures and agencies as law-generating institutions. We will use statutes, regulations, and other administrative and legislative documents, along with judicial opinions, as primary learning materials. The course will consider rationales for regulatory legislation, legislative decisions to create institutions other than courts to carry out legislative goals, and the place of administrative agencies in our constitutional design. Because statutes are the source of both agency authority and significant limits on that authority, significant attention will be devoted to legislative process and statutory interpretation. We will also investigate the processes by which federal agencies promulgate regulations, and how they are held accountable both to elected officials—–the President and Congress—–and through review by an independent judiciary.

Instructor:

Patricia J. Zettler

Term(s) offered:

Spring 2021, Spring 2020

The Administration of Criminal Justice Policy

Course Description:

This course will provide students a theoretical, conceptual, and practical overview of criminal justice organization and management. The course will emphasize the organizational and managerial elements (e.g., communication, motivation, leadership, management, etc.) across each arm of the criminal justice system (cops, courts, corrections). Students will become familiar with the structure of the criminal justice system and the application of public management and organizations theory to the criminal justice system. Many of the applications will focus on Ohio, but the theories and concepts are broadly applicable to the American system of criminal justice.

Instructor:

Andrea M. Headley

Term(s) offered:

Autumn 2019

Drug Crimes

Course Description:

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.

Instructor:

Alex D. Kreit

Term(s) offered:

Autumn 2019, Autumn 2018

Sentencing Law & Policy

Course Description:

This course will review traditional theoretical justifications for punishments and examine in depth society's always-developing approach to the sentencing of criminal offenders.

Instructor:

Douglas A. Berman

Term(s) offered:

Autumn 2020, Autumn 2019

Food and Drug Law

Course Description:

This seminar focuses on current issues concerning federal and state regulation of foods and drugs, including FDA structure and organization; the regulation of human drugs, medical devices, animal feed and drugs, nutraceuticals and alternative medical therapies; and state regulation of drugs, devices and food quality. Students will lead a discussion of a food, drug, cosmetic or medical device topic/issue of their choice and a final paper will be required

Instructor:

Patricia Zettler

Term(s) offered:

Spring 2021