Legalizing adult-use cannabis remains a hot-bottom issue in New Jersey as academia aimed to help lawmakers understand the implications of marijuana legalization.
The first major push is William Paterson University with the establishment of Cannabis Institute, made up of professors and staff, to provide both scientific and economic information on marijuana, opioids and other drugs, according to the school. The Cannabis Institute expects to advise state lawmakers and local officials on both medical and recreational marijuana, as well as share studies and data on the impact of legal weed.
“The possible legalization of marijuana in New Jersey has significant public policy, economic, and public health implications that require in-depth research and analysis,” says Richard Helldobler, president of William Paterson University. “We formed this institute so that our highly qualified faculty who study cannabis and other related topics can serve as a resource to help inform policy and practice based on their research and expertise, and to serve as an incubator for collaborative research projects and curriculum.”
Moreover, Stockton University launched its medical marijuana program this fall, with students taking a course in cannabis law, becoming one of the first institutions in the state to embrace marijuana. While Rutgers University offers students a course in medical marijuana and will likely expand its offerings if the state legalizes marijuana.
Meanwhile, many differences still separate the governor and legislative leaders on legal weed, including both regulation of a potential industry and taxes, making it unclear when the state could get legal weed. Should it pass, though, William Paterson and other schools will likely embrace an essential place in the industry.