Covering Cannabis

Course Overview

Covering Cannabis
Self-Directed Course
Time Estimate:
3 to 4 hours.

Save 20-25 percent off the full price of this course and more by becoming a Poynter Prepared Member. Learn more and join now.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

As laws around and attitudes toward cannabis change, so too should cannabis coverage. Indeed, stoner puns and Cheech and Chong references are slowly giving way to exemplary cannabis stories from newsrooms across the country that are, one by one, confronting the complexities of legalization.

The cannabis beat intersects with science, medicine, business, regulation, technology, agriculture, law, criminal justice and individual liberties. At a time when coverage of these issues is shaping public policy, journalists sometimes get it right — and sometimes get it wrong. The consequences are wide-ranging, from misinformed voters to poorly crafted laws gone unchecked.

Editors increasingly realize the value of covering the growing billion-dollar cannabis industry. And more journalists are on the cannabis beat than any other time, with legal cannabis in eight states and medical cannabis in more than half the country.

This guide to covering cannabis aims to establish a shared language and common journalistic standards to help the quality of coverage keep up with the quantity.

What Will I Learn:
  • Common terms relating to the cannabis industry
  • The discrepancies with regard to the legal patchwork in the United States
  • How cannabis intersects with a number of different beats
  • Reliable sources for data
  • Types of coverage journalists should avoid when dealing with cannabis
  • Storytelling opportunities for newsrooms
Who should take this course:

Journalists and editors on the health, business, technology, agriculture or politics beats (and anyone interested in covering the booming cannabis industry).

Course Instructors:

Alyson Martin

Alyson Martin is the co-founder of Cannabis Wire and co-authored A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition. She is also an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. @alysonrmartin

Nushin Rashidian

Nushin Rashidian is the co-founder of Cannabis Wire, and the co-author of A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition. She is a research fellow on the Platforms and Publishers project at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. @nushinrashidian