Public University Launches Marijuana Institute

| Mon Nov. 26, 2012 2:56 PM PST

College students already smoke a lot of pot, but now some of them can also study it in the classroom.

Northern California's Humboldt State University recently launched the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research, what's believed to be the nation's first pot institute at an accredited university, according to the Eureka Times-Standard. The HIIMR will offer scholarly lectures and help coordinate reefer-related research among 11 faculty members from fields such as politics, economics, geography, sociology, and psychology.

"Across the country, there was a tendency to ignore the 'green elephant' in the room," institute co-chair Josh Meisel told the Times-Standard, explaining how the idea for the institute went from pipe dream to reality. "With these public discussions (around pot legalization), there were a lot more questions than there were answers."

Located in California's "Emerald Triangle," the epicenter of the state's pot-growing economy, Humboldt State has about 7,000 full-time students, putting it among the smallest third of the 23 campuses of the California State University system.

Unlike well-known "cannabis colleges" such as Oakland's Oaksterdam University, HIIMR won't offer classes on pot cultivation—at least not for now. But it will have the ability to teach courses for college credit. Its first annual speaker series kicks off tomorrow with a public lecture on the implications of pot legalization for "marijuana communities"—groups like the backwoods growers in Humboldt County.

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