Teaching Drugs: Incorporating Drug Policy into Law School Curriculum, 2020-21 Curriculum Survey Update
Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, February 2021
14 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021
Date Written: February 18, 2021
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 continue our efforts 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 a third survey of all accredited law schools in the U.S. The 2020-21 survey followed two previous annual surveys and a workshop of legal scholars who work in this space. The surveys and 2019 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.
Keywords: drugs, cannabis, controlled substances, curriculum, law schools, criminal justice, teaching, courses
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