About Us

About Us

Formed in 2012, The Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research is the first academic research institute devoted to cannabis research. It is a research and analysis organization created to fill various information gaps about marijuana issues. The Institute is a local, regional, state and national resource. It conducts, analyzes and disseminates research and provides expertise to policy makers, health care and medical professionals, businesses and the media, among others. An information clearinghouse, the Institute promotes rigorous and scholarly scientific study of marijuana issues. The Institute's purpose is analysis, not advocacy. It takes no position, for example, on legalization or decriminalization. Likewise, it offers no classes or training programs. Humboldt State University is a logical home for the Institute because of our interdisciplinary expertise in the environment and natural resources. The marijuana industry has a major impact in these areas, as well as on the region's economy and social fabric. As laws about and perceptions of marijuana issues evolve, the Institute will share information, contribute research to public policy debates and help broaden community and national understanding.


The Institute’s objectives are to:

  • Create a high-profile Institute within Humboldt State University for the purpose of providing marijuana policy analysis;
  • Promote rigorous scientific and scholarly opportunities for faculty, staff, and students;
  • Encourage scholarly and policy collaborations with researchers from other institutions;
  • Serve as a clearinghouse of marijuana related research.

In order to accomplish these objectives, the Institute will engage in the following activities:

  • Collect, analyze and disseminate data to the public and to policymakers;
  • Collaborate with other institutions and agencies to support and enhance existing as well as ongoing projects and goals;
  • Submit proposals for internal and external research funding; and
  • Preserve and archive data through the HSU Library Special Collections Unit.

Research goals focus on data collection and assessment methods that can be used to enhance knowledge available to communities, researchers, educators, and others in better understanding the past, present, and potential future role of marijuana at it relates to the regional economy, workforce development, health, environment, and community relations.

Here is a copy of our charter.

Faculty Member Research Interests

  • Frank Cappuccio (Chemistry): determining pesticide and toxin prevalence in marijuana and at production sites.
  • Erick Eschker (Economics): measures the size and economic impact of marijuana production on the economy and labor markets. He studies the evolution of marijuana retailing and the impact of dispensary bans by cities and counties. He looks at the diffusion of new products and estimates tax revenue.
  • Gregg Gold (Psychology): determining how attitudes and behaviors change based on an individual’s perceptions of the social atmosphere regarding marijuana, and how marijuana use affects health outcomes.
  • Fred Krissman (Anthropology): understanding labor markets for cultivators and dispensary workers, with emphasis on immigrant agricultural workers.
  • Josh Meisel (Sociology): examining evolving community attitudes towards marijuana cultivation and communities as well as the history of marijuana control on the North Coast.
  • Whitney Ogle (Kinesiology): examining the effects of cannabis consumption on human movement.
  • Ara A Pachmayer (Recreation Administration): studies resident attitudes towards cannabis tourism and spending habits of seasonal trimming workforce.
  • Anthony Silvaggio (Sociology): determining the ecological and public health impacts of marijuana production on rural communities and identifying the nature of environmental crimes committed by the industry, impacts on public and private lands, and how law enforcement, public health officials, and policy makers respond.
  • Ronnie Swartz (Social Work): determining the policy and practices that reduce harm to people, communities, and the environment from marijuana use and drug policy.
  • Elizabeth Watson (Sociology): Understanding local physicians and medical marijuana ethical issues and dewatering of North Coast streams.
  • Joshua Zender (Business): examining the impact of cannabis legalization on state budgets and understanding finances of cannabis businesses.

Associate Member Research Interests

  • Sunil Kumar Aggarwal (Medical Geography, MultiCare Institute of Research and Innovation): ​Cannabinoid Integrative Medicine; Geography of Access, Delivery, and Development​; Psychoactive Biot​ic Therapeutic Landscapes​​, Enclosures, and Seed Sovereignty.
  • Dominic Corva (Geography, Director of The Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy): Documenting history of drug policy, understanding social movements and human geography.
  • Mourad W. Gabriel (Wildlife Ecology): Investigating direct and indirect impacts to terrestrial, avian and aquatic wildlife from trespass marijuana complexes on public and tribal lands.
  • Sheigla Murphy (Director of Center for Substance Abuse Studies, Institute for Scientific Analysis): Using qualitative methods to understand marijuana use, sales, policy, harm reduction. Surveying medical marijuana use, women and drug use, and prescription drug use.
  • Amanda Reiman (Policy manager at California Drug Policy Alliance): evaluating models of cannabis regulation, measuring cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs and as a treatment for addiction, and studying medical cannabis, dispensaries, and holistic health.
  • Craig Reinarman (Sociology, University of California at Santa Cruz): understand cross cultural comparative analysis of cannabis use patterns and theories of addiction, drug law and policy.
  • Sue Sisley, MD (President of Scottsdale Research Institute): conducting cannabis clinical trials focused on military veterans: examining safety/efficacy of whole plant cannabis for pain management, PTSD, substitution for opioids, Alzheimer’s and autism.

Community Member Research Interests

  • Edie Butler: long term preservation and archiving of local research on marijuana and identifying and filling gaps in the record of the marijuana phenomena in northwest California.

Contact Us


Dr. Dominic Corva. phone: 206.228.0509 • email: dominic.corva@humboldt.edu

Dr. Josh Meisel, Professor of Sociology. phone: 707.826.4446 • email: meisel@humboldt.edu