As the wave of cannabis legalization continues to sweep through the US, the number of law schools offering courses that would prepare students to serve clients in this evolving marketplace remains surprisingly small. Dickinson Wright Attorney Benton Bodamer teaches one such specialized course titled “Cannabiz: Exploring the Legalization of Marijuana” through The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.

“The course is designed to provide a focused business perspective on decriminalization and legalization initiatives,” said Bodamer. “The hope is that our students take away the complexities of federal versus state and local laws and how, as business advisors, attorneys can help their clients navigate the nuanced dance that is the operation of a state-compliant business that is federally non-compliant.”

The “Cannabiz” 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. Students in the course take what they learn and apply their unique perspectives to original policy-based research papers on issues like social equity in cannabis, the interaction between FDA regulations and federally legal “hemp” legislation, protection of intellectual property, federal bankruptcy and state receivership, and banking in the cannabis industry. To read an evolving selection of the papers produced from this course, please click here.

Founded by Professor Douglas Berman in November 2017 with a gift from the Charles Koch Foundation and housed at the Moritz College of Law, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center draws on the interdisciplinary strengths of a number of colleges and departments across The Ohio State University, including the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. By bringing together scholarship from across academia and reaching out to government actors, legal practitioners, public policy advocates and other stakeholders, the center helps shape and enrich public conversations about the intersecting fields of drug policy and enforcement, and their historical and modern impact on society. To learn more about the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, please click here.

Dickinson Wright’s Cannabis practice positions the firm as one of the only truly full-service law firms advising clients operating in this industry, providing specialized counsel on the regulatory and other complexities from “seed to sale” and beyond. Dickinson Wright’s Cannabis group, one of the largest and most well established in North America, advises clients in the US and Canada navigating the constantly changing federal, state, and local landscapes in this emerging market, with attorneys licensed in Canada and each of the 33 US jurisdictions with a state-compliant medical and/or adult use cannabis program. To learn more about Dickinson Wright’s Cannabis practice, please click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.