"Across the county, there was a tendency to ignore the 'green elephant' in the room," said this weed-oriented academic movement's co-founder (and quote machine), Humboldt State University sociologist Josh Meisel. Reportedly, Meisel started making plans with co-chair Erik Eschker all the way back in 2010 after California's widely disputed (and ultimately defeated) legalization measure Proposition 19.
"With these public discussions, there were a lot more questions than there were answers," said Meisel. And thus, the seed for "The Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research" was planted (that is only a weed pun if you make it one).
So why Humboldt, you ask? Apparently, besides just existing within California state limits, the university is situated in an area with a particularly known, flourishing marijuana population (as well as what Eschker calls a "pot" oriented identity), and Eschker said, "If anyone is going to have a marijuana institute, it really should be Humboldt State." Ultimately, they want to broaden their research and expand the institute to the point of hosting an international conference for marijuana researchers.
Stoner jokes aside, this is a totally interesting and under-researched field that will have serious social, environmental, and economic ramifications for years to come. And, according to one sociologist, "the stigma for marijuana research is pretty much lifted," so there you go.
You all go get a jump-start filling out your Humboldt applications, while I wait for studio offers to start pouring in for my forthcoming, Institute-inspired spec script for PCU 2: Barely Legal. Patent pending.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.