For Adam Dodek, it was high time the University of Ottawa offered classes on cannabis law.
Starting next year, the school’s law faculty will offer up two courses in the emerging field — making the U of O the first Canadian university to do so.
Dodek, the school’s dean, said the forthcoming legalization of marijuana will have far-reaching consequences, and future lawyers need to be prepared.
“We felt this is one of the biggest changes that will impact Canadian society and law over the course of the [next] few decades,” he said in an interview with CBC.
“We are trying to very much respond to the public’s needs and the needs of the next generation of lawyers.”
‘Teaching in real time’
The new courses will be offered in English and French and will be taught by two lawyers who have been working on cannabis law.
The school has also partnered with cannabis producer Canopy Growth, as well, to allow students to tour the company’s facilities.
Dodek said marijuana’s legalization will lead to changes to workplaces, condominium boards and criminal law — and students, therefore, need a solid understanding.
Figuring out how the law relates to impaired driving cases will be particularly important, Dodek said.
“We know that drinking and driving is one of the most heavily tested areas in the criminal justice system, and we don’t expect it will be any different for driving under the influence of cannabis.”
For the professors teaching the courses, Dodek said, it will be a challenge to adapt the curriculum to constantly evolving law — but it’s one he’s looking forward to.
“This is an area where we will be teaching in real time,” he said. “And that is often one of the most exciting and challenging things to do.”