What we do

We research the science and governance of cannabis agriculture.

We ask critical questions about the social and environmental impacts of cannabis. We evaluate patterns and practices of cannabis production over space and time. We assess the impacts of cannabis farms on the environment, and explore how cannabis regulations affect agricultural practices and cultivator communities. Our methods supply objective data and credible evidence. Our analysis reveals outcomes, uncovers issues, and suggests solutions.

As communities respond to rapid shifts in cannabis policy, our research group aims to deliver much-needed science to inform productive debate. Overall, we seek to contribute to the development of prosperous, equitable communities and healthy environments.

Our group pursues research with independence and objectivity.

As an independent, interdisciplinary group of expert academic researchers at UC Berkeley, our activities focus on:

  • Pursuing innovative research and applied¬†scholarship through scientific studies and peer-reviewed publication.

  • Intellectual exchange among researchers through regular meetings, retreats, symposiums and conferences.

  • Public outreach to share our findings, learn from diverse voices, and encourage constructive dialogue via briefings, workshops, webinars, and panel discussions.

  • Building awareness and support for our Center to spur collaborative research and inform equitable approaches to cannabis policy.

Fair and just policy solutions require credible answers to critical questions.

Why research cannabis policy, land use and communities

Cannabis policy is changing rapidly.

With increased public acceptance of the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis, regulations are changing across the globe. Yet each country, state, county and town regulates marijuana differently. Laws and policies often conflict. Within any given community, heated debate often erupts over the details of legalization. What permits will be required, for who and what? How will these changes impact or benefit the environment and community?

Shifting pressures affect communities and the environment.

New policies disrupt not only agricultural practices and balance sheets, but also social and ecological relationships. Whether permitted or not, growing cannabis can be speculative and uncertain, a high-risk livelihood. Compared to common crops, cannabis farmers face volatile policy, local hostility, and meager resources. The reverberating impacts of policy change on communities and the environment remain unknown. Our research aims to fill that gap in knowledge to inform future policy and practice.

The consequences deserve interrogation.

We investigate the growing pains of rapid change in cannabis policy and practice. In our research, we ask: what strategies will support an equitable, effective and environmentally sustainable cannabis agriculture?

Who we are

Our team includes ecologists, wildlife and conservation biologists, hydrologists, geographers, anthropologists, and public policy experts in agriculture, law and land use. Our Center supports professors, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and outreach professionals at the University of California, Berkeley.