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Article – The Jurist: Let It Grow: Why More Law Schools Should Teach Cannabis Law



Edited by: Katherine Gemmingen | U. Pittsburgh School of Law, US

Douglas A. Berman and Jana Hrdinová, Executive Director and Administrative Director, respectively, of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, discuss their Center’s recent report on cannabis law courses and curriculum at law schools throughout the US…

California’s 1996 ballot initiative protecting medical marijuana users from state criminal prosecution kicked off the modern marijuana reform era in the United States. In part due to federal prohibition, state medical marijuana laws prompted an array of interesting and intricate legal questions. Some issues concerned the reach of federal law after state reforms. Could doctors be punished by federal authorities for recommending marijuana to patients consistent with state law? Could groups providing marijuana to patients raise a medical necessity defense if subject to federal prosecution? Other issues arose at the intersection of novel drug laws and other state laws. Could an employer lawfully fire an employee with a valid medical recommendation simply for testing positive for marijuana? Could police officers lawfully search a car based simply on the smell of marijuana?

Lawyers and courts have been grappling with these and countless other legal questions across the nation as an ever-growing number of states have legalized marijuana for various uses. Many constitutional questions about potential conflicts between federal and state authority and individual rights have occupied federal courts all the way up the US Supreme Court. A wide array of state law issues have not just occupied state courts, but state administrative bodies and legal ethics panels as well, all seeking to sort out just when and how lawyers can advise or even play a role in the developing marijuana industry.

A full quarter century after California’s first state-level reform, three dozen states have now joined California in legalizing marijuana for a range of medical uses, representing over 70 percent of the US population. And 18 states plus the District of Columbia, representing over 40 percent of the US population, have also legalized cannabis for recreational use. A large, new cannabis industry has come with a number of complex regulatory and policy issues. State policymakers and public lawyers now confront the challenge of developing licensing schemes and regulatory rules to protect public health and safety, designing effective tax rates and business structures, and advancing equitable goals ranging from expunging old convictions to helping disadvantaged communities participate in the industry. Private lawyers helping marijuana businesses must figure out how to raise capital, navigate licensing requirements, and structure acquisitions in the face of diverse state laws and persistent federal prohibition. Lawyers are also called to review and revise workplace rules about marijuana use, to advise landlords, hospitals, and other venues concerning marijuana use on their properties, and to address myriad other novel issues in this dynamic field.

And yet, with so many new legal questions to grapple with and such rich policy areas to debate, remarkably few law schools are cultivating a modern curriculum by offering courses on cannabis law and policy for the next generation of lawyers. Beginning in 2018, our center (the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law) has conducted an annual survey of law school curriculum to trace the evolution of teaching in the area of cannabis law and policy. We have surveyed law schools’ online course schedules and contacted registrar offices by email. We were surprised initially that barely one in ten law schools offered even a single class in this arena; during the academic year 2018-2019, only 21 out of 201 accredited law schools offered 24 cannabis-specific courses to their students. This number grew to 29 schools offering 33 courses in 2019-2020, and growth continued with 35 schools offering 35 courses in 2020-2021 and finally 37 schools offering 38 courses in our most recent accounting in 2021-2022. But even though the number of offered courses has grown over the last four years, law schools still lag significantly behind the fast-moving pace of cannabis legalization. While now close to 75 percent of US states have some form of legalized marijuana, less than 20 percent of law schools in the US offer instruction on cannabis law.

Notably, even schools offering courses in this area do not do so consistently: only eight schools offered a cannabis course over all four of the years we examined curricula and 23 schools offered a cannabis course only once over that period. Coverage of this topic is limited even in law schools located in medical- or adult-use states. In the academic year 2021-2022, there were 86 law schools located in states that had legalized adult-use marijuana, but just over one fourth of the schools (24) offered courses on cannabis law. Of the 57 law schools located in medical-use only states, only eight offered courses on cannabis law or policy. In total, of the 143 law schools located in states that have legalized cannabis for either medical or adult-use, only 32 offered courses on cannabis policy and law. Of the 18 states that have legalized cannabis for adult-use, eight states do not have any law schools offering courses on cannabis law, and neither does the District of Columbia. Of the 19 medical marijuana states, 12 had no law schools offering any courses on cannabis law in the 2021-2022 academic year. In other words, 20 states out of 37 that have legalized either adult-use or medical marijuana have no law schools that offer courses on cannabis law.

Cannabis reform states with no law school cannabis courses

These data suggest that many law schools, including those in states that have legalized cannabis for either medical or adult-use, have been slow to adapt their curriculum by adopting courses that will help prepare the next generation of lawyers to work in this challenging and ever-shifting legal and policy environment. Given the growth of the cannabis industry as well as the complex nature of the laws and regulations that are unique to each state, the failure of schools in states that have legalized cannabis for either medical or adult-use could be viewed as an important omission in the overall training of future legal professionals.

With a focus on its educational value, the area of cannabis law can serve as a terrific capstone course for upper-level students that provides a bridge between law school teachings and practice of law by presenting practical and understandable application for complex legal questions.  But there can be great professional value for students as well.  The Fall 2021 issue of The National Jurist put “Cannabis Law” on its list of “The 20 Hottest Law Jobs for the Next Decade,” no doubt because the number of law firms and other legal employers looking for young legal talent with a knowledge base in this field is sure to grow as an ever-growing number of states legalize and develop recreational and medicinal cannabis regimes. Given the relative novelty of this industry, its complicated regulatory environment, and continuing growth, students who are familiar with cannabis laws may have special career opportunities and chances for rapid advancement in a dynamic and interesting field. Notably, the legal press has highlighted that an increasing number of large law firms are starting to build significant cannabis practice groups. It will be worth watching if a growing number of major law firms developing cannabis practices will in turn lead to a growing number of law schools adding classes in this area.


Douglas A. Berman is the Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law and the Executive Director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Jana Hrdinová is the Administrative Director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.


Suggested citation: Douglas A. Berman and Jana Hrdinová, Let It Grow: Why More Law Schools Should Teach Cannabis Law, JURIST – Academic Commentary, May 11, 2022,



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Can EMF and 5G affect the endocannabinoid system?




5G conspiracy theories run a little off the radar from science. Unlike 4G, high-band 5G does disperse energy into the upper layers of the skin according to Health Canada. Neither electromagnetic frequency (EMF) range can, however, induce ionizing radiation or damage DNA. Interestingly, lower-range EMF promotes an environment that helps to produce endocannabinoids. This means that 5G radio waves can affect the endocannabinoid system but issues might occur after chronic exposure.

5G is non-ionizing radiation, which might affect the endocannabinoid system by exciting atoms.

Effects of low range EMF — ionization vs biological switches

Flipping biological switches and ionization is the difference between a flower gently blowing in the wind as opposed to having one of its petals torn off. In the same sense, EMF signals from cell towers appear to push atoms around in our bodies without tearing them apart or affecting DNA.

To get to the point fairly quickly, many processes in your body depend on the movement of atoms with a positive or negative charge. Those atoms include sodium, calcium, or potassium ions, for example. Nerves, in part, send signals by switching atoms back and forth in a consecutive series. Moreover, some of these biological switches are electrically gated. (1)

Imagine then how external electromagnetic activity can mildly affect internal biological processes. While even higher 5G frequencies ranging up to 80hz are too weak to cause causing ionization — the removal of electrons from atoms. Cell signals appear to still manipulate biological processes by affecting switches controlled by the flow of atomic ions within the body. And while a gentle electromagnetic breeze shouldn’t cause much of an effect. The long-term effects of 5G signals are still unknown.

The ECS and EMF, bound by calcium

One atomic ion that happens to be boosted by EMF is calcium, an environment that happens to prime endocannabinoid production. Countering itself, the ECS, in turn, reduces calcium activity. Essentially, the ECS works like a cutoff switch to maintain balance throughout the body, also known as homeostasis.

The movement of atomic ions also causes them to vibrate and heat up. (4) Our bodies have sensors that respond to temperature changes known as Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels. These channels help to control the flow of calcium channels and also are considered part of the endocannabidiome.

Calcium currents are one mechanism that 5G radiofrequency effects that can induce oxidative stress. (1-3) To avoid being short-sighted, of course, EMF can cause oxidation through several other processes.

Radiofrequency and oxidation

True — we need oxygen to survive much like our hearts and blood vessels need nitric oxide to avoid damage. To protect against oxidative stress that occurs as a result, though, our bodies use endocannabinoids. Pitted against oxidative stress from 5G, EMF and elsewhere, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) embodies a large system found in all humans and vertebrae.

Radio Frequencies (RF) are offered in a range of non-ionizing bands. For example, high-band 5G operates at up to 47 GHz. That is well above that 6GHz threshold that Health Canada uses when testing EMF exposure in the workplace under Safety Code 6. Alternate tests are used above 6GHz since energy becomes dispersed into the outer layer of the skin at that frequency.

5G signals use a higher frequency but they are also emitted in millimetre waves. 5G tower pictured courtest of Canva.

EMF from 5G towers vs phones

Dr. James Orgill holds a Ph.d. in chemical engineering but more famously runs the channel Action Labs. Orgill broadcast an experiment on the strength of 5G signals. He compared the EMF emitted by the cell towers to frequencies given off by his cellphone. The latter of the two emitted a remarkably stronger frequency due to a difference in distance from the two sources.

At the end of the video, Dr. Orgill explained that while 5G cell signals do not induce one type of radiation, they do induce another. That is, ionizing radiation is not a threat from 5G phones — let alone the more distant towers. Signals from 5G pocket computers do, however, affect sugar molecules according to Youtuber, James Orgill, Ph.d.

Skipping on providing scientific citations for 5G and sugar molecules, it seems that radio waves from cell services do have biological effects. Scientists have repeatedly tried to transmit their humble concerns to regulatory bodies with little success. In one study from Iran in mice, rosemary essential oil was even explored as one potential treatment for oxidative stress caused by lower EMF frequencies. (2)

Higher Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF) can induce ionization that damages DNA. Whereas current research instead suggests a safer story for weaker radio waves used by cell signals and 5G services. With that said, 5G and general low-range EMF still induces oxidation constantly maintained by the endocannabinoid system. Should we, therefore, demand more research on the biological effects of EMF and 5G signals before ramping high-band density? And what about sixth-generation services above 100GHz?

Let us know in the comments if you have noticed an effect from your 5G cellphone. And check out this story to learn more about oxidative stress and the ECS.


  1. Pall ML. Electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels to produce beneficial or adverse effects. J Cell Mol Med. 2013;17(8):958-965. doi:10.1111/jcmm.12088
  2. Henschenmacher B, Bitsch A, de Las Heras Gala T, et al. The effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on biomarkers of oxidative stress in vivo and in vitro: A protocol for a systematic review. Environ Int. 2022;158:106932. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2021.106932
  3. Asl JF, Goudarzi M, Shoghi H. The radio-protective effect of rosmarinic acid against mobile phone and Wi-Fi radiation-induced oxidative stress in the brains of rats. Pharmacol Rep. 2020;72(4):857-866. doi:10.1007/s43440-020-00063-9
  4. Elzanaty, Ahmed & Chiaraviglio, Luca & Slim-Alouini, Mohamed. (2021). 5G and EMF Exposure: Misinformation, Open Questions, and Potential Solutions. 10.3389/frcmn.2021.635716.

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Florida Gulf Coast University – Cannabis Studies @ The Integrated Studies Program.




Florida Gulf Coast University has been teaching about cannabis to undergraduates for quite a while.

The Cannabis Studies options sit under the Integrated Studies Program. It all sits under the  Cannabis Research, Education and Workforce Initiative (CREW) with the intention of creating an academic home for the cannabis industry. whose mission it is to.

For the minor in cannabis studies, students take 4 core courses and then choose 6 other courses such as: Marijuana Law, The Horticulture and Botany of Cannabis, Drugs and Behavior, and Weed Culture. Interdisciplinary approach that includes law.

This degree covers the discipline of marijuana as a, discipline!  They also offer a Cannabis Professional Online Certificate Program that as an online 4 week online intensive introduction to the basics of cannabis, the plant and the industry.

The instructors are professionals and some come from a neuroscience background causing me to seriously think about taking the week on The Physiology, Pharmacology, and Therapeutic Uses of marijuana.

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 Let it Grow: Why More Law Schools Should Teach Cannabis Law.




Recently, the Jurist published a short article by the Directors of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, entitled Let it Grow: Why More Law Schools Should Teach Cannabis Law.

The article discusses an annual survey the Center conducts of US accredited law school Cannabis law course survey.

The takeaway is that the Center directors believe law schools are missing an opportunity to prepare law students for one of the hot up and coming legal jobs.

It mentions that more than 75% of US states have a form of legalized marijuana, 20% or less have law schools with cannabis law courses. The actual study is available here.  One final anecdotal and unscientific observation.

The study shows that many “lower tier” law schools offer cannabis in contrast to “top schools.” Having taught Cannabis Law at an incredibly diverse CalBar (not accredited) school in SoCal, it comes down to socioeconomics and privilege. “Better” schools feel the stigma and the student body is not as interested.

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