As cannabis legalization draws closer to becoming law in Canada, the University of Ottawa says its time to start preparing Canadian lawyers to tackle the new rules and regulations for recreational marijuana.

"We felt this is one of the biggest changes that will impact Canadian society and law over the course of the [next] few decades," Adam Dodek, dean of UOttawa's Law School - told CBC recently. "We are trying to very much respond to the public's needs and the needs of the next generation of lawyers."

The University of Ottawa will be the first Canadian school to offer courses in cannabis law. They will be offered in English as well as French and are being taught by two of the lawyers currently working with the federal government to create the new laws.

Dodek believes cannabis legalization will affect many other aspects of Canadian law, so students need a solid understanding of how to navigate these changes. He added that impaired driving cases will be of particular importance.

"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."

He added that teaching cannabis law will be difficult since the rules and regulations will continue to evolve after the federal government repeals marijuana prohibition this summer. But he believes the subject is worth pursuing and that his instructors are up to the task of tackling it. 

"This is an area where we will be teaching in real time. And that is often one of the most exciting and challenging things to do."

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