While Vermont's lawmakers are unlikely to get around to deciding whether to legalize marijuana this session, the University of Vermont is hoping to keep the conversation about cannabis going with an online Cannabis Speaker Series.
The weekly series, which kicks off on Friday, was the brainchild of Cynthia Belliveau, UVM's dean of continuing and distance education. Belliveau says the university doesn't have a position on the legalization of weed, but instead wants to foster an objective and intellectual discourse about the plant and the burgeoning legal industry.
On elevating the conversation
"I rarely have a conversation about this issue where someone doesn't sort of make a joke about it. It's always met with sort of a giggle, or some sort of reference to being stoned. So, I thought ... 'As a university, that we should be having an objective and informed dialogue about just what we should be thinking about. Because it seemed like no one had the whole picture."
On the range of webinar topics
"We came up initially with about 20 different topics that we could have thought about ...We said, 'Well, let's just do a light touch at this point.' [We'll] look at a close-up case study of what's happening in Colorado with a small business owner, and then we have someone from Toronto who's going to give us a more global trade perspective. So then I thought, 'OK, these seem to be reasonable perspectives. We have lots of experts in the state. Why not try to utilize that and start a conversation?'"
On the role of a public university in the legalization debate
"We have good scholars here that are objective. And can talk about it in an informed way that I think we all need to hear. Bad jokes aside, how are we going to have a fair and balanced and educated conversation about the pros and cons? And maybe not even pros and cons, because that gets divisive as well, but how do we have a conversation, a holistic conversation, about what would happen if marijuana were legalized, and what are some of the implications of that."
On the series' inclusion of edibles
"This is big business, very big business ... How are we going to understand what's going on with that, too? And I think that Monique McHenry, who's a botanist, will also talk about that. But what does that mean, because it's certainly not all going to be smoked. How do we start to think about the ramifications of dosing and eating it?"
The free webinar series will cover the following topics. Learn more here.
Speaker Series Dates:
- May 15: Cannabis Law and Policy
- May 22: Cannabis Science
- May 29: Cannabis Medicine
- June 5: Cannabis: Colorado Case Study
- June 12: Cannabis: National and Global Landscape