By Jesse Rosales
Here’s a green idea: Cal Poly Pomona should become the nation’s leading institution in cannabis research.
The Drug Enforcement Administration recently announced that they are going to expand the number of those authorized to cultivate the plant and perform research. Formerly, the University of Mississippi was the sole provider of research-approved cannabis because of an exclusive contract with the National Institute of Drug Abuse. The result has been a lack of research due to the finite supply and hurdles of federal approval. As leaders among the agricultural industry, CPP should recognize the potential of such research.
CPP’s agricultural background presents a strong argument to take part in this sector of the “green rush.” The AGRIscapes facility contains 20 acres of farmland and facilities for agricultural research including 40,000 square feet of greenhouses. And those are only the facilities already in place. In addition, anyone can take a look around and see that CPP has plenty of acres of unused land to devote to additional facilities. With exceptional agricultural skills and available tools, it can only be expected that CPP be looked at as the premier source for those seeking research material.
Who might those people be? CPP is located near USC and UCLA, both schools with respected medical programs. CPP should be the one to provide the cannabis to the experts who need to study it. This way the public can be educated about its effects and treatments.
Cannabis has shown promise in research for cancer treatment, stroke and children’s epilepsy. The Universitat Aut_Ò_ noma de Barcelona found that cannabis-based medicine protected against chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
Families who witness their children suffer through seizures can also find relief for their kids with cannabis. Those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS use cannabis to increase their appetites, giving them the strength to fight their diseases.
There are an estimated 700,000 medical marijuana patients in California alone. Thousands turn to cannabis for chronic pain relief, PTSD, depression or for recreational use – an alternative to much deadlier legal things such as alcohol or prescription drugs. These statements could be made more valid with large amounts of clinical research backing them up.
This opportunity also presents financial benefits. The contract awarded in 2015 to the University of Mississippi was close to $69 million. The benefits of a reward so large would ripple through the campus.
Some CPP community members may not appreciate the benefits of participating in cannabis research because of their disapproval of the drug. This is a hard argument to make since CPP already offers beer brewing classes and alcohol is sold at Innovation Brew Works.
There may also be concern for on-campus safety if we do choose to grow cannabis. Some may say there will be an increase in crime as a result of thieves trying to steal product. This assumption undermines the protection that the University Police Department provides. Additionally, the contract with NIDA outlines mandatory security measures from the growing process all the way to the storage procedures.
Then there are those who do not want to be associated with the drug or a university that grows it, which they have every right to feel, but they are observing with limited vision. This opportunity has nothing to do with personal opinions on cannabis but rather the future benefits that this research will provide for the world.
This is truly a moment for CPP to leave a large footprint in the history of modern medicine. Future alumni could be a part of the university that provided the foundation of medical breakthroughs, but only if they do their part now in expressing the desire for CPP to take advantage of this opportunity.
Jesse Rosales is a medical cannabis advocate.
Sungah Choi / The Poly Post
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