John Lipford, J.D.

John is a professor in Grand Valley State University’s Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) program. John primarily teaches human resource management, hospitality law and legislation, and geotourism courses at GVSU.  Most recently, John designed a course entitled “Cannabis Regulations and Tourism” (HTM 242); the first cannabis-related tourism course in the U.S. The course’s first offering was during the Fall 2019 semester and there is growing demand for multiple sections of the course each year. John has presented at multiple conferences on cannabis-related issues, including as a panelist on the ‘Marijuana in Michigan’ panel at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism (2019). In addition to cannabis tourism, John researches social justice issues and discrimination in the hospitality and tourism industry, the history/expansion of responsible tourism in the Great Plains of the United States, the use of popular media (including NBC’s The Office) to accomplish active learning in the modern classroom, the expansion of best practices in responsible cannabis operations and risk management, and community planning for cannabis impacts. Prior to beginning his career with GVSU in 2010, John practiced law in the areas of employment discrimination, civil rights, tort law, and (later) in insurance defense. He lives in Grand Rapids.





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