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Ohio State Is Setting Up New ‘War On Drugs’ Policy Center

A War On Drugs policy center is about to open up in Ohio State University’s law school. Information is limited, but here’s what we know so far.

Chloé Harper Gold

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Ohio State Is Setting Up New 'War On Drugs' Policy Center

Ohio State University just announced that they will be establishing a War On Drugs policy center. What exactly will such a center entail? Is the end goal as apparent as we think it is? Since the War on Drugs is a nuanced issue, we’re expecting some groundbreaking research.

The War On Drugs Policy Center

Ohio State Is Setting Up New 'War On Drugs' Policy Center

The Drug Enforcement and Policy center, also known as the War on Drugs Policy Center, will have two purposes. The primary purpose of the center is to study, examine and analyze the War on Drugs—specifically, the effects the War on Drugs has on the American people.

The War on Drugs Policy Center will also closely examine the spreading legalization and regulation of cannabis across the United States.

According to Mortiz College of Law dean, Alan C. Michaels, the center “will serve as an objective, reputable voice in the national conversation relating to drug laws and enforcement.”

Professor Douglas Berman is slated to lead the center. In addition to being a nationally recognized expert in the field of criminal sentencing, he is an expert in cannabis law. He writes the Marijuana Policy, Law and Reform blog and also teaches a class about the subject.

Needless to say, that particular course has proven to be quite popular among Ohio State’s law students.

The Charles Koch Foundation will be funding the War on Drugs Policy Center. They have given a $4.5 million grant to the cause.

Everything Connects

Ohio State Is Setting Up New 'War On Drugs' Policy Center

Another positive aspect of the center is its interdepartmental potential.

The university stated that the center will “foster collaboration among OSU faculty.” The faculty in question will likely have backgrounds in the fields of social justice, public affairs, criminal law and legislative reform.

This brings up an oft-overlooked point of interest in cannabis law, legalization and the War on Drugs: broader connections.

Cannabis criminalization doesn’t just affect a specific demographic or population. In the grand scheme of things, it affects everyone. The criminalization of cannabis has led and contributed to myriad societal ills. As it stands, the War on Drugs feeds into racism, xenophobia, police brutality, overcrowding in prisons, poverty, homelessness and problems in health care.

You can’t talk about weed without also discussing the policies and the politics regarding it.

Furthermore, you can’t study cannabis criminalization and legalization without also examining the broader context of the War on Drugs in the United States. Everything that falls under that umbrella connects to each other.

Final Hit: Ohio State Is Setting Up New War On Drugs Policy Center

As of now, it remains unknown when the center will become active.

Additionally, the only confirmed faculty member attached to the project is Professor Doug Berman. Because the center is housed within the university’s law school, we predict that students will be clamoring and competing amongst themselves for potential roles and positions in the project. Due to the vast nature of drug policy and cannabis legalization, it stands to reason that the center could use a few dedicated students to fill research assistant positions.

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