University of Minnesota Launches Cannabis Research Center

The University of Minnesota has officially launched a state-funded Cannabis Research Center.

The university’s new Cannabis Research Center is designed to examine and report on the public health effects of the state’s new marijuana legalization law. The center will inform lawmakers and state agencies  about potential policy decisions related to legal marijuana.

Minnesota lawmakers passed a marijuana legalization bill earlier this year. The portions of the law allowing those 21 and older to legally possess and cultivate marijuana took effect August 1, with marijuana retail outlets expected to open sometime in 2025.

The new law grants $2.5 million in annual funding to the college’s School of Public Health in order to establish and maintain the Cannabis Research Center. Public Health Professor Traci Toomey is serving as the center’s inaugural director.

“I am excited for the opportunity to lead the Cannabis Research Center and, alongside my colleagues at the School of Public Health, to conduct innovative research on the health effects of adult-use cannabis legalization on people and communities across the state, including prevention and treatment of substance use disorders, equity issues, education and decriminalization,” Professor Toomey said in a public statement.

According to the Center’s vision statement, it will:

  • Provide value to Minnesota by conducting and summarizing research that addresses key questions and informs policies and practices to improve public health.

  • Lead the scientific community in cannabis research.

  • Uphold antiracist principles by prioritizing questions related to equity and incorporating antiracist practices into collaborations, research questions and methods, interpretations, and communications.

  • Maximize health benefits and minimize health problems related to cannabis by addressing timely questions now and into the future.

  • Be a trusted source of information about cannabis research for individuals, communities, and organizations.

To achieve this vision, the University of Minnesota Cannabis Research Center will be:

  • Responsive to questions.

  • Transparent about what we know and don’t know.

  • Proactive with regular communication about research findings.

  • Nimble enough to address a range of questions.

  • Efficient with resources.

  • Collaborative with key partners and community members.

In August Minnesota’s St. Cloud State University announced multiple 24-week certificate courses making them the first in Minnesota to ever offer marijuana certificates. The program, with the tagline “Become an Industry Leader”, is being offered as part of a partnership with Green  Flower, a marijuana training company located in California.

There are currently four courses being offered:

  • Cannabis Agriculture and Horticulture
  • Cannabis Compliance and Risk Management
  • Business of Cannabis
  • Cannabis Healthcare and Medicine.

Each course takes six months to complete and all are done through online classes.

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