Institute of Cannabis Research suggests pot — and Pueblo — have arrived


Colorado State University-Pueblo’s year-old Institute of Cannabis Research recently hosted its first conference, as Pueblo’s PULP reports, “less than five months after a local ballot initiative threatened to ban recreational shops, grows and manufacturing facilities.”

PULP’s Kara Mason and Theresa Wolf write:

The propositions to end the marijuana industry failed, but the questions about marijuana’s potential health benefits and how it impacts the community and economy, remained. Many proponents of the industry say they think more education might help calm nerves and settle concerns about the industry and the controversial plant itself.

Enter the institute. Made possible by a $900,000 legislative grant last year out of the state’s marijuana tax cash fund as well as $270,000 in Pueblo County funding, the institute is moving ahead with its mission of contributing to “new knowledge of cannabis and its derivatives through research and education that improves lives and contributes to science, medicine and society.” Central to that mission is the objective, “To conduct independent, objective and unbiased research across multiple disciplines.”

The April 28-30 conference attracted internationally prominent experts from the United States and eight other countries. Nearly 600 people attended in all.

As we recently noted, the Pueblo area boasts one of the largest outdoor marijuana grows in the country and a proliferating retail trade in recreational marijuana. A planned National Marijuana Museum was announced last November and has begun a fund-raising campaign.

All of which serves to put Pueblo on the map as a sort of marijuana Mecca. Not just for acquiring the drug itself, but for tapping into the growing knowledge base surrounding it.

Ever since Colorado began its bold experiment with legal recreational pot, the state has been on the leading edge of the national marijuana debate. And it seems Pueblo, which long has struggled to find its footing after years of economic decline, now finds itself on the leading edge of that leading edge.

That doesn’t sit well with everyone in southern Colorado’s onetime Steel City, of course, but it sure has raised Pueblo’s profile.

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