UC Berkeley launches cannabis research center

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The new research facility will be the first in the University of California system

This past Tuesday, the University of California (UC) Berkeley announced that it was creating a new Cannabis Research Center (CRC) designed to explore the social and environmental impacts of marijuana legalization. It is the first facility of its kind for the UC education system and will focus on three main areas – policy and regulation, cannabis-producing communities and environmental impacts.

The new CRC is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of school faculty members that have had access to the university’s research start-up incubator, Science Matrix, for the past year in order to study cannabis. Those members decided to form an official research group and hope to create public dialogue regarding cannabis and marijuana, as well as to contribute to the development of “prosperous communities and healthy environments.”

According to CRC co-Director Van Butsic, “We realized that the dimensions of cannabis that we were interested in — such as cannabis production, cannabis in communities and the environment — were all integrated. It made sense to formally form a center around the ideas.”

The facility will be the first in the UC system to examine features of cannabis that are commonly overlooked. Other UC campuses offer cannabis research centers, but these typically only study individual or specific effects and public health ramifications of cannabis.

Butsic adds, “I am excited to build collaborations with the cannabis industry, regulators and other people involved in cannabis. We are trying to make sure that the center is a group that can facilitate [collaborative] research beyond the university.”