The news keeps coming fast and hard in the cannabis sector. Merely days after more leading politicians and officials keep whether backing the legal movement or requesting more scientific evidence, the University of California, Berkeley announced the launch of its new Cannabis Research Center.
The center will focus on three main research areas: cannabis production and its environmental impact, policy and regulation, and cannabis producing communities.
The CRC aims to discover why the market in California, especially the growing sector, started rather disappointingly. And what could be done to improve the game for growers, large scale farmers and how sustainability can be improved while also studying. The environmental impact of cannabis cultivation.
The center will also analyse how the farming sector, as well as regulators, can learn from and adapt to challenges and methods in the cannabis farming area. Contrarily to the rest of the agricultural sector cannabis cultivation is highly regulated. In California cannabis farmers are generally held to a higher standard and need to conform with stricter regulations than the rest of the agricultural sector.
One of the more novel approaches of the CRC [for the cannabis sector] is that the Berkeley’s Cannabis Research Center consists of a multidisciplinary team and can thus analyse different elements and also connect dots between different the researches and tie the puzzle together.
Small cannabis farm, photo via UC Berkeley
Especially when it comes to potentially improving both the sustainability of the industry and its impact on local [rural] communities the CRC may be able to propose more realistic solutions to improve the challenges experienced in the sector and the regulations ruling it.
“If cannabis producers can be profitable and meet these super-high environmental performance measures, then perhaps there is knowledge and technology that can transfer from the cannabis industry to the rest of agriculture that can improve environmental performance of food production.”
— Van Butsic, Co-director Cannabis Research Center University of California, Berkeley
We have recently seen many initiative come also from the educational sector. At the same time no week, no day, passes without new studies about cannabis and its impact being published. One of the more interesting aspects of Berkeley’s CRC is that the institute also hopes to learn from the still young cannabis sector and see how its learnings can be applied to more traditional agricultural sectors.
All while also trying to analyse whether the highly regulated industry can be improved by changing policies.