Illinois has launched the Cannabis Research Institute (CRI), a first-of-its-kind centre in the American Midwest for innovative pot studies.
The new research hub announced on Thursday will be a joint endeavor by the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago and Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), a part of the University of Illinois system.
The aim of the institute will be to develop a comprehensive body of data and research to educate the public about the socio-economic and scientific impacts of pot production and usage.
The scope of research the institute plans on undertaking is broad and will cover everything from crop management to social impacts and health and wellness.
Example topics will include the efficacy of pot and cannabis extracts for treating medical ailments such as inflammation and anxiety; the impact of legalization on the community and broader society; public health ramifications of legalizing adult-use cannabis; and the improvement of pot plants through controlled environmental conditions.
“I am thrilled to announce the launch of the Cannabis Research Institute — a national first, creating actionable research to inform data-driven policymaking and advance public knowledge on the impacts of cannabis,” said JB Pritzker, Governor of Illinois.
“I can think of no better place than Illinois for this endeavor. We are the heart of the midwest and at the very forefront of cannabis legalization — all while dismantling the long-lasting effects of the war on drugs on our communities.”
The DPI and the Mayors Office say that the CRI will help establish relationships with a diverse assortment of stakeholders including state and city representatives to help make sure that cannabis research there will influence policies and regulations to ensure the safety of the public; answer any questions about new markets and rules; and promote medical, technological and scientific advancement.
To help ensure the CRI accomplishes those goals the DPI will be forming and leading a research team comprised of different communities, research institutions, businesses and government authorities.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to not only promote Chicago as the center for highly-demanded cannabis research but expand the breadth of knowledge and science needed to shape policy,” said Lori E. Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago.
“Our city is the perfect location, as we’re home to an impressive hub of innovation and world-class research universities and institutions. Leveraging and coordinating our city’s resources to create a top-tier cannabis research centre will make waves in this new industry and set the precedent on cannabis research nationally.”
The DPI, city and state want the CRI to be an entry point into the cannabis industry for people of colour through research opportunities, internships and jobs.
The CRI will be working in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Cannabis Regulatory Oversight Officer and other regulatory agencies and the DPI is currently searching for an executive director for the centre.
The University of Kentucky also recently established another American cannabis research centre in September focused on finding ways that cannabis can help treat different medical conditions.