Join us in welcoming SOU Chair and Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, Vincent Smith, PhD, as he presents: The Impact of Cannabis on the Rogue Valley Food System
Cannabis has been grown in the Rogue Valley for decades. However, Measure 91 has dramatically increased the presence of marijuana cultivation in the region. Today there are 314 licensed recreational growers in Jackson and Josephine Counties alone. There are both potential risks and opportunities associated with emerging cannabis markets. These include increased flow of cash into a community, increase in property values, the movement of large-scale farming operations into rural areas, the creation of marijuana appellations, and competition for natural resources. While increased cash flow is usually seen as a benefit to communities, it can also create negative unintended consequences associated with federal regulation. For example, banking marijuana revenue poses a risk not only to those doing the banking, but the banks themselves. In 2017, the Rogue Valley Food System Network in collaboration with Southern Oregon University hosted a series of community stakeholder meetings between land use planners, cannabis producers, food producers, and resource managers. Stakeholders were asked by researchers to explore the opportunities and threats associated with the changing agricultural landscape in Southern Oregon. Regional findings were qualitatively analyzed for emerging themes.
In this talk, Dr. Smith will summarize the findings of the 2017 Rogue Valley Food System Network Cannabis Working Group. He will focus on the socioenvironmental impacts of cannabis production in the Rogue Valley with a specific emphasis on how cannabis production influences the food system. He will further demonstrate how qualitative findings are being used to influence quantitative research to test perceived opportunities and threats.
Dr. Smith holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Environmental Science & Policy and Sociology & Anthropology specializing in human ecology and agroecology. His work explores the relationship between environmental behaviors and natural response in a range of contexts including sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and sustainable tourism. Dr. Smith’s current research explores the impact of the cannabis industry on Rogue Valley food systems and the environment. Dr. Smith regularly works with undergraduate research assistants in his community-based research projects. These projects have resulted in student presentations and publications in a range of fields from community food insecurity to economic valuation of community-based resources. Dr. Smith received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Environmental Resources and his MS in Environmental Science from Oregon State University.
The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided by the STEM Division.