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Course Information

Drug Law and Policy

This course closely examines government regulations of illicit drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine, and heroin. The course will address some of the most important and controversial legal, moral, and policy questions surrounding such regulations, including: What is the normative basis for drug prohibition? What are the costs (physical, social, financial, etc.) associated with drug use? What are the costs of the war on drugs? How effective are current state and federal drug policies? What are the alternatives? What are the promises and pitfalls of drug legalization and other proposed reforms? The class will also tackle some of the thorny legal issues posed by drug laws, including: What does it mean to "possess" or 'distribute" an illicit drug? Does the move to eliminate the mens rea requirement for simple drug possession violate Due Process? How are drug quantities to be calculated for purposes of sentencing? The class will conclude by discussing drug reform proposals currently being considered by Congress and various states. Students will be graded based on a final examination and in-class participation.

Note: Due to some overlap in content, students who enroll in this Drug Law and Policy course will not be eligible to take the one-credit Drug Law and Policy Short Course.