Humboldt State University nestled in California's pot growing heartland of Arcata just announced an interdisciplinary program based in marijuana research. The institute will be led by a faculty of 11 and feature the most innovative information from politics, economics, geography, sociology, and psychology fields. The institute's co-chairs, economist Erick Eschker and sociologist Josh Meisel, offered a statement to Eureka's Times-Standard with: "If anyone is going to have a marijuana institute, it really should be Humboldt State." He went on to offer the primary objective of the research will be based upon the relationship between marijuana production and employment within Humboldt County.
Meisel also offered more regarding the institute's research to the Times-Standard by addressed the highly debated Proposition 19 which would have legalized marijuana in the state. Though the proposition did not pass, Meisel and several other faculty members began seeking means of uncovering the potential economic, legal, and health issues which prevented the proposition from passing. Additionally, the institute will host seven public talks based in lectures for the marijuana reform movement to open discussions between community members and researchers.
Many experts suggest the launch of the institute is important to gain a better understanding of the true effects of what opponents feel is the "gateway" drug. Given the potential for the legalization of marijuana to sweep through many states due to voter support, as it already has in Colorado and Washington, Humboldt's program will hopefully answer questions for not only participants and supporters, but also opponents and society as a whole. As the U.S. grapples with outdated drug laws, overcrowded prisons, and the effects of substance abuse, perhaps lawmakers and scholars can collaborate to make necessary updates to political, legal, and social systems.