In my prior post, I wrote in response to Doug Berman’s question that I was on the non-canonical side of things. (Fancy that—a Bay Area legal academic being non-canonical?) Having said that, I do think there is tremendous value in talking about what I’m having my students read (so far) and, more importantly, why I’m having them read these papers. I do think it’s important to give them some background in the subject so that they can fit their own policy domains into a bigger picture. My overwhelming criterion for reading is that it be of high quality—or, in the case of the Oklahoma/Nebraska complaint, that it be of extremely high salience. Ideally, the reading has both. I wholeheartedly recommend all of our reading so far.
This is our list:
How to Regulate Cannabis
I had the students read this over their break. I wanted them to get an overview of the field, and, in my conversations with them, the takeaway most of them reported was the understanding that there are a variety of options in regulation, that it isn’t a binary choice.
Overview of Recent Developments Affecting Medical Marijuana (California, 2012)
I had a couple of goals with this one. First, it’s just extremely well written and comprehensive, and we discussed the ways in which there is an art to summarizing the law. I wanted my students to try to internalize some lessons about legal writing from reading this. Second, I wanted my students to have substantive knowledge about the regulatory framework of the state (or not). All of the flagged issues in this material will also be important to a recreational market, and, moreover, statewide regulation (vel non) is, in my view, one of the important factors behind Colorado’s success and Washington’s troubles.
Alex Kreit, Controlled Substances, Uncontrolled Law and Kevin Sabet, Much Ado About Nothing: Why Rescheduling Won’t Solve Advocates’ Medical Marijuana Problem
I think these are both excellent articles that tell students what they need to know about scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act, but I also tell students that Alex Kreit recommended Kevin Sabet’s article to me. The extra-textual point I’m raising here is that good scholarship can come from a variety of places, and academics with integrity (like Alex) aren’t afraid to recommend it, despite disagreeing with Sabet on the big picture.
Robert Mikos, Preemption Under the Controlled Substances Act
As with all the articles listed above, my main criterion is “is this awesome?” This is an awesome article: really informative and helpful in structuring thinking. Having said that, stay tuned for a blog post from one of my students based on our class discussion that might tweak Mikos’s framework. This article does what you want an article to do: it provides a new way of thinking about a subject that engenders even more thoughts in response.
Nebraska/Oklahoma Complaint and Leave to File Complaint in the Supreme Court
As I indicated in my prior post, this has particular salience and is the perfect capstone to the prior reading: we understand the CSA, preemption, and commandeering, and now we can use that understanding to analyze the legal reasoning in the complaint.
That’s our reading so far—with a gigantic exception. More about that in the next post.