UCI Center for the Study of Cannabis (CSC)
We are a multi-disciplinary research center whose mission is to address the medical, legal and cultural challenges posed by cannabis legalization.
With the passage of Propositions 215 (1996) and 64 (2016), the State of California legalized both medical and recreational uses of cannabis. Oklahoma’s recent referendum approving medical cannabis, 30 states have now approved the medical or recreational use of cannabis. Furthermore, Canada, where medical use of cannabis was already permitted, legalized adult recreational use in 2018.
These sweeping legal transformations are taking place in a societal context shaped by multiple contrasting factors:
- As cultural attitudes toward cannabis evolve, the prevalence of its use in the United States continues to rise, especially in most-at-risk populations such as teenagers and elderly adults;
- Recent changes in legal status have promoted the explosive growth of a new cannabis industry, which is already worth $7 billion in the State of California alone, and is expected to reach a $50 billion value in the United States by 2026;
- Despite the many questions raised by the increased diffusion of cannabis, our understanding of its medical benefits and risks is still critically incomplete;
- Similarly, the judicial landscape around the production, sale and use of cannabis – in fundamental areas such as finances, business structure, regulatory oversight, ethics, anti-trust and more – remains largely undeveloped.
This new societal context raises urgent medical, legal and cultural questions, whose answers require groundbreaking, multidisciplinary research. The mission of the CSC is to foster such research and its dissemination, engage stakeholders at the State and national level in a balanced, evidence-based discourse about cannabis, and heighten public awareness about the risks and benefits of cannabis use.