November 29, 2012 | Marcus Varner | 1 Comment It looks like higher learning just got, um, higher. Hot on the heels of widespread marijuana legislation in the November elections, Humboldt State University in Northern California is making marijuana studies a major focus by setting up the Humbolt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research, according to a Nov. 25 article by the Times-Standard. At first glance, this institute seems poised to be the most popular place on HSUâ€™s campus-students would be lining up around the block to take part in studies and experiments. However, upon closer examination, this institute has loftier ambitions. The first interdisciplinary research effort of its kind, the marijuana institute will tackle issues like marijuana legalization, police efforts against marijuana planting, and â€œthe effects of cultivation on local wildlife.â€ The 19 HSU faculty members who signed up to chair the institute point out that while there are many institutes that research the effects of illicit drugs, theirs would be the first to cover marijuana. They point out that now, as the nation is experiencing a cultural shift in its attitudes toward marijuana, is as good a time as any to better understand the much-maligned leaf. And Humboldt students arenâ€™t likely to protest. Marijuana use by U.S. college students has been climbing steadily in recent years. According to studies on the subject, 17 percent of college students say they used marijuana in the last 30 days, while 30 percent say theyâ€™ve smoked pot in the last year and 47 percent claim to have smoked pot sometime during their lifetime. Unfortunately, 98 percent of marijuana users go on to abuse other substances. The effect that this announcement will have on enrollment is yet to be seen. But one thing is for certain: any course that this institute creates will be among the universityâ€™s most popular. So what are your thoughts about Humboldt’s bold direction? Is it purely academic? Will it be good for students and the university? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!