By Angela Edmunds
Jason Plume, a political science professor at Humboldt State, teaches a class titled Drugs & Law. The class discusses sections of a book titled “The Fix” by Michael Massing, a Harvard graduate. The passages discussed in class outline many aspects about the war on drugs including harm reduction of drug use and multiple means of answering the ultimate question: prohibition or legalization or something in between?
Humboldt State’s Interdisciplinary Institute for Marijuana Research hopes to play a role in education and acknowledgement, as discussed in Massing’s work. HIIMR became a recognized at HSU as an institute about a year and a half ago. HIIMR was founded by Josh Meisel, a sociologist, and Erick Eschker, an economist. HIIMR was created in hopes of filling the many information gaps about cannabis issues.
“[The goal of HIIMR is] really to bring insightful, fact based findings about the substance to the public,” said Plume. “It’s about time we started talking about drugs in America on a factual basis instead of clinging to these myths that the government has perpetuated … It’s just like any other topic such as law or policy, and I think HIIMR is all about getting people to talk about the facts.”
The purpose of the institute is to research topics such as legalization, regulation, medical uses, psychological, sociological, and economic effects of the cannabis plant
on the United States and and world.
HIIMR was featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live in November.
Kimmel’s comedy routine left many people confused about what exactly the research institute is all about. It is not a new wing that has been added to HSU
campus, or a topic that can be selected as a major by students. The institute is a resource for researchers the local community, as well as the entire state and region; conducting, analyzing, and distributing research findings to policy makers, medical professionals, businesses, and to the media.
“I first heard about HIIMR from the Jimmy Kimmel special,” said Alanna Pickerrell, an undeclared freshman at HSU. “Having the institution on a college campus is probably a touchy subject, but I agree with the research they will be doing. Someone has to do it.”
“I’ve heard about [the institute], but don’t know much about it,” said Joey Powell, a recreation major who will be graduating this semester. “I was offended a lot by [Jimmy Kimmel’s show], obviously it was satirical but it was aired to a national audience and gave Humboldt a bad image. [The institute] is scientists trying to learn more about something that could be vastly beneficial to the world, and it shouldn’t been seen negatively.”
So far the biggest contribution the institute has made is its speaker series, which is available on the HIIMR website: www.humboldt.edu/hiimr/. There is also a list of all upcoming events, previous interviews about the institute as well as projects and publications.