Marijuana Legalization: Humboldt State University Launches First Marijuana Research Center

Humboldt State University, a public university located in Arcata, Humboldt County (one of California's prime pot-growing regions), has launched The Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research — an academic institute devoted to marijuana, reported The Associated Press.

The institute plans to sponsor scholarly lectures and coordinate research among 11 faculty members from fields such as economics, geography, politics, psychology and sociology. According to The Times Standard, one professor is studying recent campaigns to legalize marijuana, while another is investigating the environmental effects of pot cultivation.

According to sociologist Josh Meisel, who is leading the enterprise with economist Erick Eschker, the institute is leading the investigation of marijuana through the lens of multiple disciplines. Humboldt faculty started discussing the idea in 2010, when California was preparing to vote on a contested ballot proposition that would have treated marijuana like alcohol. 

"If anyone is going to have a marijuana institute, it really should be Humboldt State," Eschker, who is currently studying the connection between marijuana production and employment in the county, said.

Meanwhile, Politics professor Jason Plume is giving a lecture on the marijuana reform movement on Tuesday night. The event will be one of seven public talks the institute plans to host this year, now that voters in Colorado and Washington have beaten Californians in passing marijuana legalization measures.