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Top 25 Cannabis Research Colleges | Updated for 2022



One of the biggest disputes from anti-cannabis proponents is that there is simply not enough research on the subject. The science proves this is simply untrue if we look at the United States’ Pharmacopeia support of cannabis medicine dating all the way back to the 1850s.

Currently, there is a wave of cannabis research that is only continuing to grow. The recent passing of the Medical Marijuana Research Act through the U.S. House Bill is an indicative sign of the monumental paradigm shift for cannabis researchers throughout the country and ultimately the globe.

The importance of cannabis research

Female scientist in a hemp field checking plants

Up-to-date, multidisciplinary studies are more important than ever as our global society seeks to grasp the holistic impact of cannabis science, agriculture, policy, and law into actionable measures that foster an equitable, sustainable cannabis industry.

Cannabis research departments across the U.S.

Here’s a comprehensive list of U.S. colleges and universities leading the way with trailblazing research efforts, arranged in alphabetical order.

Alabama A&M University

College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences (CALNS)
Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station

Alabama A&M University (AAMU) is an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), an 1890 Land-Grant Institution, and one of five AL universities licensed to grow hemp cannabis and hemp for research purposes.

AAMU’s Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station and recently has partnered with Oregon State University and Phylos to plant over 400,000 seeds in Alabama and Tennessee.

Lead researcher: Ernst Cebert, Ph.D., WTARS Manager

Led by: College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences (CALNS)

Alabama State University

ASU Industrial Hemp & Entomology Research Lab

Since 2019, Alabama State University’s Industrial Hemp & Entomology Research Lab has launched dedicated initiatives to research best growing practices for hemp including specialty research on pest management. Graduate students are able to gain firsthand experience with hemp plants cultivated at the university and with local Alabama hemp farmers.

Lead researcher: Dr. Michelle Samuel-Foo, Director of Specialty Crop Research

Led by: College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

University of Alabama

College of Arts and Sciences

As one of a handful of state universities conducting hemp research, The University of Alabama has focused its efforts on researching the cannabinoid content of hemp plants and best practices to breed the most efficacious genetics.

UA has also partnered with The Wemp Co. to conduct research on their 20-acre hemp farm led by Dr. Lukasz M. Ciesla, UA’s assistant professor of biological sciences.

Lead researcher: Dr. Lukasz M. Ciesla

Led by: College of Arts and Sciences

Allan Hancock College

Industrial Hemp Research Program

Allan Hancock College’s Industrial Hemp Research program was introduced by local farmers in the Santa Maria Valley based on the USDA’s requiring them to partner with a research institution.

The goal of the program is to provide these farmers with empirical data on the genetics and sex composition of plants. Led by Dr. Anjali Misra, students are able to apply their research techniques, better access internships, and collaborate with hemp production company, Biologix.

Lead researcher: Dr. Anjali Misra

Led by: Agriculture Department

Auburn University

Production Agriculture Research – E.V. Smith Research Center

Auburn University College of Agriculture’s first hemp research initiative was established in 2021 through the Production Agriculture Research (PAR) program which provides crucial grants funded by the USDA and Alabama Agricultural Experimentation Station. The study analyzes the effects of “​​two variety’s response to differing nitrogen treatments, as well as two varieties at different plant spacing.”

Lead researchers:

Joe Kemble, Department of Horticulture

Katelyn Kesheimer, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Led by: College of Agriculture

California Poly Humboldt

Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HiiMR)

The Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HiiMR) was established in 2012 at Cal Poly – Humboldt (formerly known as Humboldt State University). The HiiMR specializes in the intersection of public policy, science, and environmental studies within the fields of cannabis research.

Currently, Cal Poly Humboldt has ongoing research projects and publications all listed online.

Lead researcher: Dr. Dominic Corva and Dr. Whitney Ogle, Co-directors

Led by: College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

California State University – Dominguez Hills

South Bay Economics Institute (SBEI)
College of Business Administration and Public Policy (CBAPP)

Lead researcher: Rama Malladi, associate professor of finance at CSUDH

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley Cannabis Research Center (CRC)

The Cannabis Research Center is the University of California, Berkeley’s consortium of researchers dedicated to furthering studies on the impact of cannabis agriculture on socio-ecological systems. The CRC provides access to its comprehensive catalog of peer-reviewed research and research publications online.

Lead researcher: Eric Biber, CRC co-director

Led by:  Rausser College of Natural Resources

University of California, Davis

Cannabis and Hemp Research Center (CHRC)

University of California, Davis’ Cannabis and Hemp Research Center is one of the California powerhouses for cannabis & hemp research. In 2020, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control awarded UC-Davis five different approvals for over $3 million in research funding to study the intersection of cannabis and public health sciences, agriculture, and medicine among other disciplines.

Most recently, Clever Leaves Holdings Inc. and Biopharmaceutical Research Company have collaborated with UC Davis on a “joint partnership with the intent to study the DNA sequence variation of three Clever Leaves’ cannabis cultivars”.

Lead researcher: Cameron Carter and Li Tian, co-directors of the UC Davis CHRC

Led by: Office of Research

University of California, Irvine

UCI Center for the Study of Cannabis

Focused on the medical, legal, and cultural aspects of cannabis legalization, The UCI Center for the Study of Cannabis is working to provide key insights that improve our understanding of the long-term effects of cannabis use.

UCI’s Impact of Cannabinoids Across the Lifespan (ICAL) study is a prime example of an initiative centered on how cannabis affects the human brain based on when someone starts consuming cannabis.

Lead researcher: Daniele Piomelli, Ph.D., Director, UCI Center for the Study of Cannabis

University of California, Los Angeles

Cannabis Research Initiative (CRI)

UCLA’s Cannabis Research Initiative has been a frontrunner in creating research opportunities that analyze the chemical makeup of cannabis plants and the cannabinoids within them. Led by Dr. Ziva Cooper, UCLA was awarded over $6 million in research grants by the BCC to approve seven different studies.

Lead researcher: Ziva D Cooper, Ph.D., Director

Led by: Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior

University of California, San Diego

Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR)

UC-San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) was established in 2000 making it one of the oldest of its kind. The UC Center for Medicinal Cannabis has successfully been balancing the need for a multidisciplinary approach to science and policy efforts in order to garner a holistic understanding of cannabis’ medical efficacy.

Lead researcher: Igor Grant, M.D, CMCR Director

University of California, San Francisco

Center for Medical Cannabis Research

Through various academic departments, UC-San Francisco conducts highly scientific studies that cover the community, health, and environmental effects of cannabis. UCSF was awarded the largest award of $2 million by the Bureau of Cannabis Control for its study on the “developmental effects of cannabis exposure on the immune, central nervous and peripheral nervous systems”.

Lead researcher: Jeffrey Sall, MD, PhD

Led by: UCSF Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care
Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education

University of Connecticut

CAHNR Cannabis Programs

University of Connecticut has numerous cannabis & hemp-based studies through their CAHNR Cannabis Programs which include but are not limited to the Hemp Initiative, Economics of Cannabis, and Molecular Genetics of Cannabis.

To date, UCONN has received more than $1 million in research funding from cannabis industry partners and federal entities.

Lead researcher: Gerald Berkowitz

Led by: College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources

Colorado State University – Pueblo

Institute of Cannabis Research (ICR)

Colorado State University-Pueblo founded the Institute of Cannabis Research in 2016 and is touted as “the nation’s first multi-disciplinary cannabis research center at a regional, comprehensive institution”. CSU-Pueblo hosts monthly webinars on the latest cultivation and research updates.

Lead researcher: Chad A Kinney Ph.D., Director of the ICR

Led by: Department of Chemistry


Cornell University

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences / School of Integrative Plant Science

Cornell CALS (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences) is home to a “long-term breeding program for hemp” due to its status as New York’s only land grant institution. One of the key goals of Cornell’s Hemp Research Program is to discover which varieties of hemp are most compatible with New York’s climate. Take a virtual tour of Cornell Hemp Program’s Geneva, NY plant breeding facilities.

Lead researcher: Larry Smart, Professor, SIPS

Led by: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Florida A&M University

Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative

Florida A&M University has launched its Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI) which provides a foundational online medical cannabis education course and virtual forums to inform the general public.

As an HBCU, FAMU’s MMERI is centered on equitable impact with the expressed purpose “to educate and inform Florida’s minority communities about medical marijuana and the potential consequence to health and well-being from recreational use”.

Oregon State University

Global Hemp Innovation Center

Composed of over 60 faculty members in 19 different disciplines, Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center is one of the largest hemp research centers in the nation. Historically, OSU was “the site of the country’s only hemp research center from the 1880s to the 1930s”.

In August, OSU will be partnering with CSU-Pueblo to host the 2022 Virtual Cannabis Research Conference.

Lead researcher: Jay Noller, Ph.D., Director

Led by: College of Agricultural Sciences

Rowan University

Institute for Cannabis Research, Policy, & Workforce Development (RPWD)

Rowan University’s Institute of Cannabis Research, Policy, & Workforce Development (RPWD) is a newly developed research department designed to educate healthcare professionals, policymakers, and businesses on the effects of cannabis legalization.

Scientific research on cannabis’ medicinal benefits is being conducted through the RPWD’s Center for Cannabinoid Science & Therapeutics at Cooper Medical School. Rowan has two additional cannabis research centers dedicated to workforce development and social sciences.

Lead researcher: James Grinias, Ph.D.

Led by: Center for Cannabinoid Science & Therapeutics, Center for Cannabis Workforce Development Social-Behavioral, Security and Law Enforcement Cannabis Center (SSLC)

Southern University

Southern Institute for Medicinal Plants (SIMP)
Cannabis Compliance, Law & Policy Institute

Southern University has two established cannabis research arms as part of its efforts to provide quality medicine and education in the state of Louisiana. The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center partnered with Ilera Holistic Healthcare, a licensed cannabis operator founded by Howard University’s former Director of S.T.E.M Education, Dr. Chanda Macias, to produce a compliant line of THC products.

The Law Center is dedicated to education and social impact initiatives through its Cannabis Compliance, Law & Policy Institute and partnership with the Cannabis Health Equity Movement (pronounced CHEM).

Lead researcher: Janana Snowden, Ph.D​​.

Led by: Southern University Law Center and Southern University  Agricultural Research and Extension Center

SUNY Morrisville

Four Seasons Organic Farm
Cannabis Research Plot

SUNY Morrisville operates its own Four Seasons Organic Farm that creates opportunities for students in the Speciality Crops & Production Certificate to gain hands-on experience working with hemp. Faculty have been conducting research via SUNY Morrisville’s Cannabis Research Plot where they are studying the sex of cannabis plants.

Lead researcher: Kelly Hennigan, Co-chair of the Animal and Plant Science and Agricultural Business Division

Led by: School of Agriculture, Business & Technology

Thomas Jefferson University

Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis & Hemp

The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis & Hemp at the Thomas Jefferson University has claims as the “first major health sciences university in the United States to provide a comprehensive academic resource for the medicinal application and business of cannabis and hemp”. The research center was founded by Barry Lambert, owner of Ananda Hemp, one of the leading US hemp producers.

Lead Researcher: Ruth Charbonneau, RN, JD, Associate Director

Type: Thomas Jefferson University – Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Troy University

Center for Materials and Manufacturing Science

Lead researcher: Dr. Govind Menon, Director of TROY’s School of Science and Technology

Led by: School of Science and Technology

University of Vermont

Medical Cannabis Center for Research and Education (MCCRE)

The University of Vermont conducts key research through its Medical Cannabis Center for Research and Education which equips clinicians, dispensary personnel, regulators, students, and professionals with the latest in cannabis education and research.

A major goal for UVM is “dispelling misinformation about the emerging field of cannabis studies with scientifically vetted research findings”. 

Lead researcher: Monique McHenry, Ph.D., MCCRE Director

Led by: The Robert Larner M.D. College of Medicine

William Paterson University

Cannabis Research Institute (CRI)

The Cannabis Research Institute at William Paterson University is a state-of-the-art program with a mission to advise regulators and inform the public on current clinical research and public health policies.

Lead researcher: Rahi Abouk, Ph.D., Director

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Nadir Pearson

Nadir is a dynamic cannabis leader and entrepreneur from the East Coast He is the founder of SMART (Student Marijuana Alliance for Research & Transparency) a national college cannabis organization and co-founder of Hybrid Co. Nadir also serves as a project lead for Cannaclusive.

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cannabis crimes

SAFE Banking has ‘perfect opportunity’ to pass in Congress soon, says legalization leader




Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), one of Congress’ leading marijuana legalization advocates, said earlier today that cannabis banking reform could pass in a matter of months if not weeks.

The SAFE Banking Act, which would shield banks and credit unions from federal penalties for serving state-legal cannabis companies, has passed the House six times in recent years. But it’s always failed in the Senate.

A version of SAFE Banking is currently embedded within the America COMPETES Act of 2022, a massive bill aimed at revitalizing the economy. The House and the Senate have each passed slightly different versions of the bill. The House version contained SAFE Banking; the Senate version did not.

House and Senate members are now undertaking the long and arduous process of hammering out a compromise bill that both chambers can agree on. SAFE Banking may or may not survive that conference committee process. A similar effort late last year—which embedded SAFE Banking in the National Defense Authorization Act—failed when the conference committee stripped the SAFE Banking language out of the final bill.

In a press conference earlier today, Blumenauer described the COMPETES Act as the best chance yet for advocates to enact cannabis banking reform.

“There is a strong base of support for keeping [cannabis banking reform] in the bill,” Blumenauer said. “This is not a dynamic we’ve had before, in terms of a clear path to enactment. This legislation is a high priority for Senate leadership. We think this is a perfect opportunity to get some movement” on the SAFE Banking Act.


Murder changed my mind: Pass the SAFE Banking Act now

Why is the COMPETES Act different?

After many failed tries in the Senate, Blumenauer explained why he thinks this effort might finally find success. First is the fact that SAFE Banking actually made it as far as the conference committee, in a bill that has bipartisan support and strong momentum.

Unlike last year’s defense authorization act, COMPETES may be seen as a more right and natural vehicle for the SAFE Banking provisions, because the sweeping omnibus bill is aimed at improving business conditions for American companies.

There’s a rising recognition in Congress that “cash only” rules have led to real physical and economic violence—especially against smaller operators and people of color.

More important, though, is the rising realization in Congress that people in the cannabis industry are suffering real trauma, violence, and economic harm due to the lack of access to banking services. Forcing state-legal cannabis companies to operate as cash-only businesses has exposed them to a recent wave of armed robberies. Hundreds of legal tax-paying businesses have been victimized in recent months. Front-line employees have been murdered.

“We’ve seen 200 violent attacks in the last year against state-legal cannabis businesses in Oregon,” said Blumenauer. “That’s a 150% increase. In the state of Washington, there have been 196 incidents since January, including people being killed in the commission of these crimes. This poses a threat especially to the smaller operators, the minority cannabis entrepreneurs, who can only deal in cash. It’s hopelessly unfair.”


My store was robbed on Tuesday. We’re still recovering from the trauma

In past years, Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) has vowed to block the passage of SAFE Banking, arguing that it should wait behind a full legalization bill that contains social equity measures. But Booker’s argument has lost steam in recent months as the robbery wave exposed the vulnerability of smaller operators, minority entrepreneurs, and employees of color.

When talking about equity, Blumenauer said, that conversation is about “the people who pay the price [right now] in violence. This is a direct assault against low-income people of color, people in emerging markets—they’re the ones who are at risk for this violence. I want that solved. The folks we’re concerned about [with regard to equity provisions] are smaller operations, people of color—and they are on the front lines of this violence.”

New voices entering the conversation

As evidence, Blumenauer pointed to a recent media event hosted by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), urging her Senate colleagues to include SAFE Banking in the final COMPETES Act bill.

Murray is best known for her work supporting working families and military veterans, not marijuana legalization. But she made a point of speaking out on 4/20 this year—because her constituents were literally being killed.

“It makes absolutely no sense that legal cannabis businesses are being forced to operate entirely in cash,” Murray said. “It’s dangerous—and sometime even fatal—for the employees behind the register, but this situation is also completely preventable. I am urging every one of my colleagues to come together so that we can finally pass the SAFE Banking Act.”

Murray’s vocal support was especially notable because she serves as a key negotiator on the conference committee reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the America COMPETES Act.


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Bruce Barcott

Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

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Black cannabis entrepreneurs account for less than 2% of the nation’s marijuana businesses – Cannabis Business Executive




Black cannabis entrepreneurs account for less than 2% of the nation’s marijuana businesses – Cannabis Business Executive – Cannabis and Marijuana industry news

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Cannabis Dispensaries

First Visit to a Cannabis Dispensary? A Few Things to Keep in Mind




Recreational cannabis is legal in 18 states and medical is legal in 39 states, and we can expect those numbers to grow to 50 and 50 within the next couple of years most likely. Every time a new legal market opens up, hundreds of thousands of people gain access to cannabis for the first time. They’re exposed to a whole new world of flower shopping which includes new storefronts, innovative technology, delivery options, different products they’ve never heard of, and so on. It’s a completely different ball game and, as expected, people new to the industry might have some questions.

As someone lucky enough to have grown up in California, the world’s largest cannabis market, I’ve had the opportunity to shop at many different dispensaries and stores over the last decade. In taking numerous friends and out-of-state relatives weed shopping for their first time, I have noticed a few things that are important to keep in mind if you want to make that first visit to a pot dispensary as smooth as possible.

Weed is the best; and what’s particularly fun about today’s industry is the sheer variety of products you can find online or in most dispensaries. In-fact many of the top cannabis dispensary products could be found online, if you know where to look for them. If you would like to learn more about how to find them online, or try out different products make sure to Subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter to learn more and for exclusive deals on Delta 8Delta 10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC.

Familiarize yourself with the local market

First things first, get to know the legal cannabis market in your area. What you can buy, how you can buy it, and how much of it you can buy, largely depends on where you live. For example, I’m from a small community in the Mojave Desert in Southern California. Although cannabis is completely legal in the state of California, walk-in/storefront dispensaries were NOT permitted in my area. As a matter of fact, numerous CA cities have moratoriums prohibiting cannabis dispensaries from operating within their limits.

All this to say, If I wanted to buy weed, whether it was THC (marijuana) or CBD (hemp) dominant, I would have needed to order it online to be delivered to my home or I could have driven down to Coachella Valley to buy some, as that area is one of the most lenient area in the entire state when it comes to cannabis cultivation and retail (and this is what I usually opted for). Then we take a look at other states – some only have medical cannabis, other states prohibit certain products (concentrates for example), and the different caveats go on and on. You don’t have to go far much in-depth, but a minimal level of research will certainly be to your advantage.

Also keep in mind that CBD Flowers/Hemp Flowers infused with other cannabinoids like delta 8 THC are technically, federally legal, so you can order those online no matter where you live. If you need help finding a reputable online retailer, subscribe to our newsletter above or below for helpful tips, deals, reviews, and relevant news articles.

2. Prepare to be amazed

If you’re like me and love weed, that first time stepping into a legal cannabis store really is one of those kid-in-a-candy-store moments. For me, it was on my 18th birthday – back when the selection was scarce and the storefronts were shady, but it was still amazing no less. The freedom of being able to legally buy whatever product I wanted was, and still is, a great feeling (one that I realize I took for granted, now that I live in Indiana, one of the strictest prohibition states in the nation). Trust me, you will be wowed at the sheer number of options and the quality of the products – everything from the product itself, to the hardware you consume it with, to the packing it comes in. Stepping into a truly high-end dispensary for the first time will probably blow your mind.

Take one of current favorite shop for instance, Fire & Flower in Palm Springs. As far as building design and decor goes, they’re no frills, but inside you will find hundreds of products to choose from including top-shelf flower, edibles, vapes, concentrates, and topics; technologically adept shop with interactive digital SKUs on each product so customers can learn (in detail) about what they’re buying, online ordering options, and every other retail convenience you can imagine. For anyone that remembers cannabis prohibition or is still going through it now in certain regions, the legal pot shopping experience of today will truly blow your mind. Some of these shops will have you thinking you’re in an Apple store for weed, it’s game changing when you’ve never seen a place like this.

3. Go in with an open mind, and wallet

Contrary to common belief, you don’t have to know what you want before you get there. A lot of people are completely unfamiliar with anything having to do with cannabis or CBD flowers, and that’s totally fine. After all, it is a big part of the budtender’s job to educate customers and help them choose products. Of course, the process is quicker and easier if you do go in with an idea of what you’re looking for, but don’t feel bad if you’re a novice user, we all start our cannabis-learning experience somewhere!

Not to mention, going from black-market shopping to a legal recreational market is an exciting transition. You go from buying whatever your dealer has on hand, to a myriad of product options. Someone who has been strictly buying flower on the street might be unfamiliar with real edibles or legal and safely made concentrates, so these customers will likely be seeking guidance when shopping for these products

All that said, high-quality legal products that have been lab-tested for safety and transparency, can sometimes fetch a higher price tag than what many people anticipate (there is often an expectation that these products will be cheaper because they’re legal, but that’s not always the case). Plus, when you’re bombarded with so many new and interesting things to choose from, it can be easy to spend a bit more than you originally planned.

4. Be prepared

Cannabis is a controlled substance, and as such, certain documentation is required when purchasing weed products. Most dispensaries require a current form of identification, nothing too personal, and you will often need to fill out a short form with some additional info upon arrival. Some places are only open to locals, so you will need a state-issued ID. If you’re shopping at a medical dispensary, you will also need a doctor’s recommendation.

Another thing you’ll want to have with you is cash. Several locations these days let you pay with a card and most shops will have an ATM on site for an alternative option, but there is a possibility that you will end up in a store that only accepts cash and has no way for you to get it. So, if this is your first visit to a particular dispensary, remember that cash is king

As far as hemp and CBD products go, companies generally won’t sell to anyone under 18 years old. It’s federally legal, but there are still some rules as far as who can sell what. In California, dispensaries that are licensed to sell THC products cannot sell hemp. Not sure why that is, but it’s something to prepare for when organizing your shopping trip.

Final Thoughts

While it’s not a complete run-down of how your initial visit to a dispensary might go (because, let’s face it, everyone’s experience will be different – even shopping at the same store sometimes), there are a few some basic things to remember that will help you get the best out of your first adventure into a legal cannabis store. But the most important thing to keep in mind, is that you’re a stoner among stoners, so have fun and enjoy the incredible world of legal weed.

Hello and welcome! You’ve made it to, the #1 web spot for the most comprehensive independent news coverage of the cannadelicscannabis and psychedelics industries. Join us whenever possible to stay in-the-loop on the ever-changing landscape of cannabis and psychedelics, and subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter, so you’re always on top of what’s going on.

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