As lawmakers consider legalizing weed, universities study the issues

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New Jersey lawmakers are still deciding the fate of legalized recreational marijuana in the state.

But while the issue bounces around Trenton, some of New Jersey’s colleges and universities are studying the issue of legalized marijuana use.

William Paterson University in Passaic County created a cannabis institute.

“Conducting data-driven research and showing the maybe positive aspects of adopting such policies or some negative aspects of it,” says Associate Professor Rahi Abouk, who is the director of the institute.

RELATED: Marijuana legalization vote may not come until 2019 
RELATED: Recreational marijuana could impact private companies’ drug policies 

William Paterson is bringing together its experts in many different fields and hopes to advise local and state lawmakers on the issue of legalized marijuana.

“It turned out that we had expertise in the fields of economics, in public health, in counseling, in biology and criminal justice. It was really across the board,” says acting provost Sandra DeYoung.

Gov. Phil Murphy and state legislators have not been able to agree on terms for legalizing use of recreational marijuana. But that isn't stopping researchers and policy experts from taking up the issue.

William Paterson isn't the only state university in New Jersey to look into this issue. Stockton University began offering a minor in cannabis studies last fall.

10 faculty members at William Paterson University are participating in the Cannabis Institute.

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