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The center aims to conduct, support, and share academic and practical research. With special attention to issues surrounding the reform of laws prohibiting or regulating the use and distribution of traditionally illicit drugs. Research efforts include grant programs, hosting visiting scholars and supporting three faculty members at the Moritz College of Law, College of Social Work, and John Glenn College of Public Affairs.
“As the nation grapples with the opioid epidemic and the fast pace of change in state and local marijuana laws, the need for independent research and analysis of drug laws and their enforcement is paramount to provide advocates, policymakers and community leaders with information and evidence needed for effective policies. One fundamental goal for our center is to provide sophisticated and objective analysis that contextualizes today’s problems and challenges with the history of drug enforcement and drug policy reform in the United States. Our center aspires to provide a venue for thoughtful discussion and critical engagement with these issues.”
Professor Douglas A. Berman, Executive Director, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center
Despite the significant impact of laws and policies surrounding controlled substances, few classes in the typical law school curriculum focus on either basic legal doctrines or broader scholarship in this field. This gap in law school curricula is especially problematic given the shifts in the landscapes of legalized cannabis and hemp, as well as the range of legal and policy responses to the recent opioid crisis. To better understand how law schools currently approach these issues and to identify how drug policy and law could be better incorporated into law school curricula, we conducted two surveys of all accredited law schools in the U.S. and hosted a workshop of legal scholars who work in this space. The surveys and workshop were designed to identify law school courses currently taught and the primary obstacles to teaching this subject matter. The results show that the vast majority of law schools do not teach courses touching on drugs or the evolving legal structures around cannabis, and this is true even for law schools located in states with legalized cannabis markets.