Controlled Substances: Crime, Regulation, and Policy (Table of Contents and Preface)
CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES: CRIME, REGULATION, AND POLICY, Carolina Academic Press, 2013
17 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2013
Date Written: December 18, 2013
This posting provides the Table of Contents and Preface to Professor Alex Kreit's "Controlled Substances: Crime, Regulation, and Policy" (Carolina Academic Press, 2013), the first law school textbook title or edition of its kind (dealing with drug law and policy) to be published in 30 years.
While modern drug laws have dramatically changed our criminal justice system, they are strangely absent from the curriculum at most law schools. Every criminal law casebook devotes significant coverage to homicide, property crimes, and rape. But only a handful include a chapter or section on drug offenses. Criminal procedure courses are filled with drug cases. But this is only because so many of the leading Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment cases happened to involve drug prosecutions. Courses like federal criminal law and international criminal law sometimes include coverage of drug offenses. And there are some schools that offer a seminar or course on drug policy. At most law schools today, however, a student could take every single criminal law-related offering without studying drug law and policy.
It is hard to say why there is such a large gap between the coverage of drug crimes in law schools and the importance of drug crimes to criminal law practice and criminal justice policy. A lack of prepared course materials may be partly to blame. There has not been a casebook dedicated to controlled substances law since the second and final edition of Gerald F. Uelmen and Victor G. Haddox’s excellent work, "Drug Abuse and the Law: Cases, Text, Materials," was published in 1983.
Whatever the reason for this inattention to drug laws, teachers and students alike have been the poorer for their absence from law schools. A course on controlled substances provides a uniquely rich mix of complex legal and policy problems. A close look at the law of drug crimes reveals unusually tough challenges in how to define, prove, and punish them. The enforcement of drug laws provides an ideal vehicle for studying a number of important and often overlooked issues like prosecutorial discretion, the use of informants in modern policing, and racial profiling. And, of course, drug prohibition presents one of the most difficult tests for the theories of punishment.
From beginning to end, this textbook (and courses based on it) will provide an intellectually engaging experience for a wide range of law students. Students who plan on becoming prosecutors or defense attorneys will learn about an area of the law that will inevitably occupy a large percentage of their practice. Others will enjoy debating marijuana legalization or studying the relationship between race and our drug laws.
Keywords: criminal law, drug crimes, drug laws, controlled substances, drug decriminalization, drug legalization, drug prohibition
JEL Classification: K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation