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Cannabis Law Certificate

Program Overview

McGeorge School of Law and University College have partnered to offer the NEW online Cannabis Law Certificate! This certificate is designed for lawyers aiming to enhance their knowledge in the rapidly expanding and evolving area of cannabis law. Courses are asynchronous and developed to address legal, regulatory, business, and ethical issues related to cannabis law at the state and federal level.

The Certificate in Cannabis Law+ is comprised of 5 self-paced courses. The certificate+ will take approximately 3 months to complete, or 75 coursework hours. However, each student's schedule and availability will differ. A student may complete the certificate+ in as little as 6 weeks, but will also have up to 6 months for completion.

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Certificate Descriptions

Fundamentals of Cannabis Lawyering
Course Code: UGCL 100

This course provides practicing lawyers with an overview of cannabis and the legal framework that surrounds it. It begins with a short history of the regulation of cannabis, and then covers the evolution of medical marijuana laws and the impact of these early laws. From here the course examines the current adult-use cannabis laws in various states and how these laws are moving us towards a national approach to cannabis regulation. The course concludes with an in-depth analysis of the foundational questions confronting lawyers who are considering a cannabis practice

Cannabis Business Law
Course Code: UGCL 101

This course is designed for practicing lawyers who are working with cannabis businesses. It provides comprehensive coverage of key legal issues that a lawyer should consider when working with clients in this industry-including business planning, employment, financial matters, licensing, and taxation-in light of current industry trends. The course focuses on California law and policy.

Cannabis Under Federal Criminal Law
Course Code: UGCL 102

This course examines the federal criminal law issues that arise from cannabis legalization. It covers federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act, including investigation, intelligence gathering, and eradication programs.

It also explores sentencing and other enforcement mechanisms, such as asset forfeiture, under federal law. This course also considers whether severe punishment for cannabis offenses violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment; other constitutional issues are covered in the separate course on cannabis and the Constitution. Finally, the course examines how the Supreme Court's Fourth Amendment jurisprudence has been shaped by aggressive enforcement tactics.

The Constitution of Cannabis Law
Course Code: UGCL 103

This course explores the main constitutional issues that litigants have raised in cases involving cannabis:

• Does the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) exceed the federal government's power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution when the Act is enforced against a person who grew and used marijuana for medical purposes entirely within the borders of a state that has legalized the medical use of marijuana?
• Do the guarantees of life and liberty in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protect a medical marijuana user from criminal enforcement of the CSA?
• Does the First Amendment's guarantee of the free exercise of one's religion prevent the federal government from enforcing the CSA against a person who claims the right to use cannabis for religious purposes?
• Does a business that wants to advertise cannabis products have a First Amendment right to do so?

Property Issues In Cannabis Law
Course Code: UGCL 104

This course examines the broad range of property-related issues stemming from cannabis legalization that practicing attorneys should be familiar with. The course coverage includes: Zoning and other specialized forms of land use regulation that affect where and how cannabis may be cultivated, processed, and sold.

Environmental law and water law issues that affect cannabis businesses. Landlord-tenant issues that arise for cannabis businesses operating under commercial leases, including the drafting, performance, and enforcement of such leases. Intellectual property issues that confront cannabis businesses, such as: (1) Is any form of trademark protection available for cannabis products? (2) Can patent law protect cannabis products or processes? and (3) To what extent can cannabis businesses protect trade secrets?


Additional Information
Requirements: JD, Bar ID
Modality: Online
Length: Approx. 3 months; self-paced (approximately 75 hours)
Minimum & Maximum Time to Completion: 6 weeks to 6 months
Program Director: Clemence Kucera, 916.739.7353, ckucera@pacific.edu 

+ Subject to ABA acquiescence.