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Annual Report

FY2022 Annual Report: Letter From the Director

It seems like it was just a couple of months ago that I drafted the letter to accompany the Institute’s previous Annual Report, and yet, here I am, reflecting once again, on another successful year of cannabis research, with one more conference in the books, and with a list of additional initiatives underway or  completed. There are a lot of outstanding activities and accomplishments that are highlights of this past year, which puts me in the fortunate position of having to select a few to mention in this letter. 

I will start with a focus on research, which after all is a key component of the ICR’s role and mission in the State. This year saw the start of new research projects supported through the ICR launched by researchers throughout the State of Colorado. This represents  the culmination of a lengthy process that included creating an application process and portal, recruiting subject matter experts to participate in the review  process, and research contracts with awarded investigators. While the nuts and bolts of the process are critical, time consuming, and important to recognize, ultimately it will be the results of the research that will be most interesting. We eagerly anticipate the results as these multi-year projects proceed. I encourage you to read about each of these currently funded research projects in the pages of this report.

Most of the research supported through the Institute is being conducted at academic institutions across the state, and as a consequence the impact of the work goes beyond the research itself. As someone who has been associated with academia and higher education for almost 20 years as a profession and
almost 30 years if I include my time as an undergraduate and graduate student, I recognize the importance that externally funded research has for providing opportunities for student researchers, at all levels in higher education, to develop the skills and passions necessary to become future research professionals. Recognizing the importance of student research the ICR launched the “Emerging Scientist Award” program with the enthusiastic support of the ICR’s  Governing Board. The program is supporting seven students joining the research programs of Investigators funded through the ICR that would have otherwise not had the opportunity to participate on these projects. I am proud of the role that the ICR plays in Colorado in supporting the development of the next generation of researchers while meeting the core mission the State has laid out for the ICR.

The ICR has continued to mature and grow in many ways since it was launched six years ago. One area where this is very clear is with respect to  partnerships. Strategic partnerships allows the impacts of the ICR locally, nationally, and globally to be magnified. Over this past year several key partnership
initiatives were launched. The Cannabis Research Conference 2021 was the first conference in the series to be co-hosted with our partners at the Global Hemp Innovation Center at Oregon State University. The two monthly webinar series hosted by the ICR are now co-hosted with colleagues at the Lambert  Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University and the Volcani Center for Agricultural Research in Israel. In this past year the ICR in collaboration with our host institution, Colorado State University Pueblo, launched a partnership with Vyripharm Biopharmaceuticals to
establish an advanced testing laboratory on the campus under the direction of the ICR. These are just some of the partnerships the ICR is leveraging to enhance our impact and reach. I expect the range of partnerships that the ICR engages in will continue to grow and develop going forward. 

As I wrap up my letter for the annual report this year, I wish to pose a question: Where do Coloradans want to see cannabis research in the future and what will it take to get there? I am confident that there will be a range of responses to that question, and the ICR exists to implement the State’s vision for cannabis research. The ICR and its dedicated Staff and Governing Board, are eager to support cannabis research in Colorado and to keep the State at the forefront of developing new knowledge as it relates to cannabis, its impacts, and potential.

Chad Kinney, Ph.D.

Director, Institute of Cannabis Research

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