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Spring Interterm

Cannabis Journalism

MFJS 3900 - 4 credits

Dates:      March 25-29, 2019
Days:      Monday-Friday
Times:      9am-5pm
Location:      On Campus
Instructor:      Andrew Matranga


"This course will examine the legalization of marijuana "both medical and recreational" across the country. Ten states and Washington, DC, have now legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults over 21. In the USA, 33 states have legalized medical marijuana.

In 2019, North America will be an open cannabis enterprise zone unlike any seen before in history, with the Canadian market fully open for business and Mexico soon to follow. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 62% of Americans said they supported legalizing marijuana.

The legalization of recreational marijuana by Colorado voters in 2012 signaled a historic change that continues the debate in election referenda and in state legislatures across the country. Denver, and the University of Denver, sit at this historic crossroads, and as student journalists, we will be able to dig into all the issues that legalization poses, from medical and legal.

Not only will we be investigating the scope of the marijuana legalization movement and its many political and practical intricacies, we also will be presenting this project with original data and multimedia elements conceived and designed to push and promote enterprising storytelling on a national level. Students will visit and interview dispensaries, industry professionals and private citizens to produce a portfolio piece of narrative journalism using the modes and methods of their choice, with direction of the instructor.

We will question this topic using Bruce Barcott's book Weed the People as our lens, along with regional dailies across the country for local angle:

"The magnitude of the change in America's relationship to marijuana can't be measured in only economic or social terms: There are deeper shifts going on here: cultural realignments, social adjustments, and financial adjustments. The place of marijuana in our lives is being rethought, reconsidered, and recalibrated. Four decades after Richard Nixon declared a War on Drugs, that long campaign has reached a point of exhaustion and failure. The era of its winding down as arrived."

-Bruce Barcott, Weed the People

For more information about this course, please review the syllabus or check out Dr. Matranga's website.

Registration information 

Contact: Andrew Matranga for course questions.


Apply for financial aid online