Robert Mikos

Professor of Law

Robert Mikos is one of the nation’s leading experts on federalism and drug law. His most recent scholarship analyzes the struggle among federal, state, and local governments for control of marijuana law and policy. In that vein, he has written, testified, and lectured on the states’ constitutional authority to legalize marijuana, federal preemption of state marijuana regulations, the political and budgetary considerations that limit enforcement of the federal marijuana ban, federal law’s influence on state regulation and taxation of the marijuana industry, and the desirability of marijuana localism. He has also written on the states’ constitutional authority to withhold information from the federal government, the political safeguards of federalism, accuracy in criminal sanctions, the economics of private precautions against crime, and remedies in private law. Professor Mikos earned his J.D. summa cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as articles editor on the Michigan Law Review and won numerous awards, including the Henry M. Bates Memorial Scholarship. After graduation, he was a law clerk for Chief Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Professor Mikos has taught at the University of California at Davis, where he was twice nominated for the school’s Distinguished Teaching Award, as well as at Notre Dame and the University of Michigan. He teaches courses in Federalism, Constitutional Law, Marijuana Law and Policy, Federal Criminal Law, and Drug Law and Policy.

Research Interests

Federalism, constitutional law, drug law and policy, marijuana law and policy

Representative Publications

  • "How to Make Preemption Less Palatable: State Poison Pill Legislation," 85 George Washington Law Review (forthcoming 2017)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • “Marijuana Localism”, 65 Case Western University Law Review 719 (2015)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • "Preemption Under the Controlled Substances Act," 16 Journal of Health Care Law & Policy 5 (2013)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • “Can States Keep Secrets from the Federal Government?” 161 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 103 (2012-13)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • "A Critical Appraisal of the Department Of Justice’s New Approach to Medical Marijuana," 22 Stanford Law and Policy Review 633 (2011) (commissioned Features Article)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • "On the Limits of Supremacy: Medical Marijuana and the States' Overlooked Power to Legalize Federal Crime," 62 Vanderbilt Law Review 1421 (2009)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • "The Populist Safeguards of Federalism," 68 Ohio State Law Journal 1669 (2007)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • “Do Citizens Care about Federalism: An Experimental Test,” 4 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 589 (2007) (with Cindy D. Kam)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • “’Eggshell Victims’, Private Precautions, and the Societal Benefits of Shifting Crime,” 105 Michigan Law Review 307 (2006)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • “Enforcing State Law in Congress’s Shadow,” 90 Cornell Law Review 1411 (2005)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN

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Contact Information

(615) 343-7184 (voice)
(615) 322-6631 (fax)
Room 293-A (office)

Curriculum Vitae



J.D. University of Michigan Law School
A.B. Princeton University