Rowan announces new cannabis institute

Will study potential medicinal uses of cannabis, as well as societal impacts of new laws

File photo Ali Houshmand, president of Rowan, was one of those testifying.

Rowan University has formed the Rowan University Institute for Cannabis Research, Policy & Workforce Development — a new, interdisciplinary research institute aimed at assisting and advising policymakers, health care professionals, pharmaceutical industries, government agencies and businesses.

Rowan officials said the institute, announced shortly after the state passed legislation regulating adult-use of cannabis, will provides expertise and guidance on a wide variety of topics, including law, medicine, chemistry, pharmacology and business.

Rowan also plans to conduct research to help fully understand the impact of New Jersey’s cannabis laws, as well as the potential medicinal uses of cannabinoid compounds. All research activities will be conducted in accordance with federal law and under the strict guidance of the Office of Research Compliance.

Rowan President Ali Houshmand said the school is ready to be an influencer in the new sector.

“Rowan University has the expertise and resources necessary to study the potential medicinal uses of cannabis, as well as the societal impacts of these new laws,” he said. “The research possibilities are endless.”

The institute is focused on three key areas:

  • The Center for Cannabinoid Science & Therapeutics will investigate the active chemical compounds in cannabinoid compounds, their actions and effects on long-term health and well-being.
  • The Social-Behavioral, Security & Law Enforcement Cannabis Center will help New Jersey navigate the social implications of the state’s cannabis laws. The center will act as a resource to help decision-makers develop evidence-based policies and practices regarding law enforcement and the criminal justice system, as well as measure and understand the social impact.
  • The Center for Cannabis Workforce Development will help Rowan University students obtain credentials and experience to enhance the workforce of New Jersey in cannabis-related industries. Undergraduate and graduate certificates are now available in cannabinoid chemistry.

School officials said additional programs and courses are under development.

Tabbetha Dobbins, interim vice president for research at Rowan University, said the school is eager to get going.

“Interdisciplinary collaboration is critically needed to help understand how these new cannabis laws will affect New Jersey,” she said. “We’ve seen the impact on other states and the possibilities. Research and data will be necessary to help us navigate this monumental shift in our society.”