Graphic by Poppy Cartledge

Interdisciplinary Cannabis program to be offered at HSU

HSU is in the works of establishing an interdisciplinary cannabis degree program by Fall 2022

President Tom Jackson revealed in an article to Times Standard on April 2 that Humboldt State recently received approval from the CSU Board of Trustees to develop an interdisciplinary cannabis program.

Jackson said that it comes as a response to student demand for a program in cannabis studies at the university. The curriculum would study the intersection of cannabis and society through a number of areas: wellness, compliance, law, business, ecology and more.

The department of academic affairs said through HSU’s spokesperson, Grant Scott-Goforth, that the university is planning to try and get the program ready by the start of the Fall 2022 semester.

“While it’s gotten tentative approval from the CSU trustees, all new degree programs have to go through a curriculum development process with HSU, the Chancellor’s Office, and HSU’s regional accreditor, WSCUC,” Scott-Goforth said.

The university said that cannabis has a significant cultural and economic impact in the north coast. Being the only institution in the region, HSU feels that they must be responsive to the needs of the Humboldt community.

Scott-Goforth said that unlike the handful of cannabis programs that currently exist across the nation that focus on mainly plant chemistry and biological science, HSU’s interdisciplinary cannabis program would also focus on the relationship cannabis has with the community and the natural environment.

Connor Evans is in his final year at HSU, studying Forestry (Soils), and feels like HSU has real potential to establish a presence in the current small world of cannabis academia.

“Humboldt is an epicenter for cannabis that yearns to be studied,” Evans said. “So while there are a few other schools that have programs like this, I really feel Humboldt has the opportunity to create something here that can become a staple of how to run a strong, meaningful cannabis studies program.”

Evans said that if HSU were to distinguish studies across the nation, a cannabis degree from the University would be meaningful and many people would be attracted to the program. He also said that the large amount of people in Humboldt that are connected to cannabis in some way could benefit from a local program that progresses the legitimacy of the industry.

In addition to the benefits that the local community could seek, Evans said that some current students on campus, especially first years, would most likely consider switching majors if they were able to get meaningful credentials. He said that students in many departments at HSU aim to go into the cannabis industry after graduation.

Humboldt County residents aren’t the only ones excited about the possibility of a cannabis degree program in the CSU. Nicole Elliott, the senior advisor on cannabis for Governor Gavin Newsom, feels as though a program that studies the different aspects of what is expected of California during the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis would be beneficial to many communities across the state.

“California is well served to have curriculum developed that examines these complexities, and once established, our communities will be well served to have within them CSU alumni working to share and refine this knowledge,” Elliott said.

She said that it is important for people to learn about the collective efforts of California during the transition to a regulated cannabis market, relating to all aspects of the environment: communities, economies and mother nature.

“Given this region’s global recognition for cannabis cultivation knowledge and culture, Humboldt State University will be the place students choose to attend for a rigorous interdisciplinary cannabis studies curriculum,” Scott-Goforth said.

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