Washington State University’s early efforts on cannabis research have now grown into a full, multi-disciplinary research center with nearly 100 scientists working on a diverse range of cannabis-related projects.
The newly christened Center for Cannabis Policy, Research and Outreach, or CCPRO, was officially approved by the WSU Faculty Senate and Board of Regents in May. WSU started organizing spearheading research into cannabis in 2011, even before Washington state became the first in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana the following year. The formal designation as a research center signifies its importance and WSU’s commitment as the state’s land-grant university to critically needed scientific understanding of the growing industry.
Center researchers have also been studying how Washington’s 2012 law legalizing cannabis has impacted law enforcement, and professor emeritus of political science and former CCPRO director Nick Lovrich is now taking the lessons learned from Washington officers to a national law enforcement conference.
Recall elections have been around in Washington since the early 1900s, devised as a way to hold politicians accountable and put more power in the hands of the people. But in recent years, it’s become more of a political cudgel used by an increasingly divided populous.
As for what’s driving this movement, Washington State University political science professor Cornell Clayton believes there are a few factors at play.
“One, of course, is the pandemic, and the government’s response in terms of lockdown measures, mask mandates, closing schools,” he told MyNorthwest. “That’s obviously produced some pushback, as people have challenged officials who are enforcing or not enforcing those restrictions.”
So, where does that leave Washington now? There’s little indication that the frequency of recall petitions will slow any time soon, despite the fact that those efforts have a low likelihood of succeeding. But if the state is going to move forward together, its voters will likely need to find a way to bridge a political divide that’s opened across the country.
WSU announced its 15th class of distinguished women and held a virtual award ceremony April 15 to honor those recognized.
Michelle Lee, senior majoring in political science, was honored as the Undergraduate Student Woman of Distinction. Lee said she transferred to WSU in 2019 from a private university in Malaysia and plans on attending law school next year.
She founded a branch of the Student Legal Research Association at WSU. Lee said the association examined WSU police records to better address racial disparities in university campus arrests.
Lee said the receiving award was a total shock because she was not expecting to be nominated.
“I thought it was a joke,” she said, “like one of those spam emails. I was so surprised but so grateful.”
The Student Legal Research Association will help evaluate arrest data from WSU’s police department as part of measures to address racial disparity in arrests on the Pullman campus. The campus police are also taking collaborating with university researchers to address implicit bias.
These actions are part of an effort to address disproportionate arrests of Black people by campus police, a problem identified by a Daily Evergreen article in fall 2019 and a following report by WSU Office of Compliance and Civil Rights (CCR) in May 2020. The term “arrest” in police data includes non-custody interactions such as issuing traffic citations.
The CBTSim program is just one that the WSU campus force will undertake, Gardner said. The department is working on another project with WSU criminal justice professor David Makin and the Complex Social Interactions Lab where officers will review body camera footage in very specific ways to try to understand the effect their actions have.
In the first season of The X-Files, Dana Scully accompanies her former FBI Academy teacher, Jack Willis, to an attempted bank robbery. One of the robbers shoots Willis and Scully shoots the robber, who dies. After a near-death experience in the hospital, Willis wakes up, but he has changed. He’s dark, evil. His body has been possessed by the bank robber, who will try to reunite with his lover and seek revenge on whoever tipped off the FBI.
If we believe that deep down, we’re morally good, does it push us to act accordingly? In a paper published in this month, Matt Stichter, a moral philosopher at Washington State University, brought up some potential ethical downsides of people walking around with the belief that they have a morally good true self.
“Initially my reaction was, ‘Oh wow, this is great. People inherently care about morality as core to their identity,’” Stitcher said ”But the more I started to think about it, the more it started to worry me.”