Colleges in New Jersey are planning to train the cannabis leaders of tomorrow by investing in cannabis research today. William Paterson University is the latest in a list of New Jersey colleges that are working alongside the burgeoning industry. Last week, William Paterson announced they have established the Cannabis Institute, which is designed to inform officials about various aspects of drug policy.
"The possible legalization of marijuana in New Jersey has significant public policy, economic, and public health implications that require in-depth research and analysis," Richard Helldobler - President of William Paterson University - said in a statement sent to NJ.com. "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."
William Patterson joins Stockton University and Rutgers University in bringing weed into academia. Stockton currently allows students to minor in the Cannabis Studies program, which focuses on medical marijuana. Rutgers similarly offers courses focusing on medical marijuana and has been a frontrunner in loosening regulations around cannabis use for student athletes. And while William Patterson will not yet be offering courses on the plant to students, the Cannabis Institute should prove to be a valuable resource for policy makers moving forward.
Recreational cannabis has yet to be legalized in New Jersey, but the issue has been progressing forward in the past year. Governor Phil Murphy (D) has stated his own intent in bring cannabis to NJ, though disagreements between him and members of the state legislature have prevented that from happening as of yet.