As part of its diversity and social justice commitment, and to eradicate ignorance about cannabis and prepare a professional workforce to enter the industry, Smart Counsel attorneys Bridget Hill-Zayat and Steve Schain have taught Cannabis Law at Stockton University since 2017.
Ranked seventh in the nation in graduation rates for Hispanic and overall minority students, New Jersey’s Stockton University is one of only five universities offering a minor in Cannabis Studies. The interdisciplinary Cannabis Studies minor offers a foundation for understanding the burgeoning cannabis industry with experiential learning opportunities in cultivation, energy efficiency, small business operations, communications, social media, retail and patient research internships.
The Cannabis Law class kicks off by examining marijuana and its historical role as a medication and intoxicant. Students study the plant’s use across the US population and subsequent federal prohibition, identifying the racial, political, and economic motivations before and after Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The readings, materials and lectures consider racism, civil rights laws and how the CSA created a federal loophole allowing law enforcement to selectively infringe on minorities’ and political dissidents’ civil rights.
The class traces the progress of legislation in different jurisdictions and examines state laws decriminalizing and legalizing cannabis; focusing on the social, political and legal impacts on businesses and consumers. Students learn about cannabis social and patient advocacy organizations, banking, the business license application process, minority inclusion, advertising, environment, tax and employment.
Cannabis Law class guest speakers include decriminalization/legalization activists Steve D'Angelo, Richard DeLisi, Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion and Chris Goldstein, cannabis and hemp activists and former professional athletes Riley Cote and Marvin Washington, pioneering cannabis banker Sundie Seefried, Minority Cannabis Business Association’s Executive Director Amber Littlejohn, Hallucinogens activist Noah Potter and Medical Marijuana physician Paloma Lehfeldt.