Academics & Research / Summer 2018

University lecturer Sam Kamin shares insights on marijuana law

“There were a lot of schools that were a little skittish about taking [marijuana] seriously and offering classes in it and research support for it,” Sam Kamin says. “It has really put us at the center of this important area of law and policy.” Photo: Wayne Armstrong

Sam Kamin, the Vicente Sederberg Professor of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Sturm College of Law, delivered the 2018 University Lecture on April 24. The annual event showcases the groundbreaking work of faculty members.

In the late 2000s, Kamin embarked on a path no one else had walked before in thinking through the legal issues associated with marijuana policy. His work earned him a spot on Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Task Force on the Implementation of Amendment 64. Voters approved the amendment, which provided for the commercial sale of marijuana to the general public, in 2012. Now, more than four years after the amendment went into effect, Kamin is taking a look back, as the future of the industry seems to be running on two divergent tracks.

“When I started looking at this, there were a handful of states with medical marijuana and no states had recreational,” he says. “Now there are nine states that have recreational and there are 29 states that have medical. You have the former speaker of the house on the board of a medical marijuana company. The next big question is what happens at the federal level, and that’s an issue that seems to be changing from day to day.”

Kamin’s expertise in marijuana law and policy grew out of an issue he thought about often during his time teaching and researching in the areas of criminal and constitutional law. “I was interested in the division of responsibility between the state and the federal governments, so when Colorado started changing marijuana laws to make them more friendly, that seemed like an interesting place to look at those issues,” he says.

Kamin says DU has supported his efforts and research from the beginning. That support was demonstrated when he was named the University Lecturer, one of the highest honors the University bestows on faculty members. “There were a lot of schools that were a little skittish about taking this seriously and offering classes in it and research support for it,” Kamin says. “It has really put us at the center of this important area of law and policy.”

3 Comments

  1. Kenneth Freedman says:

    Silly me. I expected to read some of the insights he shared.

  2. This piece is cut short -could you please share some of his insights? I would love to hear more from University Lecturer Sam Kamin.

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