Cannabis Curriculum- DU’s Marijuana Summit


Marijuana legalization is no longer just the topic idealistic undergraduates write about in their English 101 courses. What wasn’t relevant (or legal) four years ago is now a hot topic in today’s academic institutions. Marijuana startups, entrepreneurship, journalism, technological innovations, mental and physical health, and law representation are all important subjects being discussed and addressed in classrooms across the University of Denver. Some ways DU has brought marijuana into the academic conversation is through course offerings. Sturm College of Law now offers Representing the Marijuana Client, the first course of its kind to offer training to neophyte lawyers “to work directly with the cannabis industry.” In the fall of 2015 the Media, Film, and Journalism Studies department offered Cannabis Journalism, allowing upper level undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to examine medical and recreational marijuana legalization in Colorado.

Jumping on the timely aspects of marijuana legalization, DU’s Center for Professional Development (CPD) and Sturm College have teamed up to offer DU’s first ever Marijuana Summit. I had the opportunity to chat with CPD’s Assistant Director, Shannon Gray, to learn more about this event and what you can expect to learn about during tomorrow’s sessions.

Highlight the Expertise on Campus

All the panelists that will be represented on the panel discussions are experts on cannabis and will be able to provide insights into the current state of marijuana’s effects as well as provide predictions on what to expect in the future. We’re also lucky to have one of the nation’s leading marijuana regulation experts right in our own backyard. Sam Kamin, the Vicente Sederberg Professor of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Sturm College of Law, will be the summit’s keynote speaker and panelist for the law/business track workshop to discuss marijuana regulation at the federal, state, and local levels.

Address Current Issues as They Happen

Have you ever felt that higher education often moves at glacial speeds when it comes to real-time germane issues of our society? The CPD and Sturm College of Law acknowledged this complication by providing the summit; a place where the DU community can come together to discuss marijuana’s influence in Colorado at a time that makes sense. Marijuana is such a new and rich topic that effects a wide variety of research fields that there is a need to provide a place for timely discussion.

Promote Interdisciplinary Collaboration

One of the purposes for the formulation of DU’s CPD was to set an example for interdisciplinary partnerships across campus, and this summit is a great demonstration of partnerships put to good use. The Marijuana Summit was created in partnership with Sturm College of Law and in affiliation with the Graduate School of Professional Psychology, the Graduate School of Social Work, University College, and Morgridge College of Education. This year professionals from the law, business, psychology, and biology fields will be represented, allowing for attendees to view marijuana from a multifaceted/interdisciplinary lens.

This year’s summit is broken down into two tracks, both of which offer two workshops sessions comprised of three panelists. The panels will run for 1 hour and 15 minutes including time for Q & A. Both tracks will focus on marijuana’s influence on research and legislation. Here is a little bit more about each track:

  • Law/business- Sturm College of Law
    • Marijuana regulation at the federal, state and local levels (3 panelists)
    • 50 Shades of Green- This session will highlight how marijuana legalization has effected local business (3 panelists)
  • Psychology/biology- Lindsay Auditorium in Sturm Hall (across Driscoll Green)
    • Mental health and marijuana (3 panelists)
    • Biological effects of marijuana (3 panelists)

The summit is tomorrow, and while free tickets are no longer available, students can register for one of the tracks for $10 (which includes lunch from Pasquinis!). If you have any insights to share about this historic event we’d love to hear about them in the comments!


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