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Undergrad Students Are Introducing Cannabis Education At UCLA

An a recent Wednesday evening in a bare-bones basement classroom on the UCLA campus, students filled chairs, perched on table tops, and stood in the corners to learn about one thing: cannabis. Despite the beginnings of a rare L.A. rain, the 6 p.m. start time, and the fact that students receive no credits for being there, this particular UCLA class attracted about 20 people.

The inaugural run of a student-run weed class at UCLA is finishing out for the year. The lecture series, dubbed Cannabis 101, is a twice-monthly session created by UCLA’s new cannabis-centric club, Cannaclub. Formed in February in an attempt to dispel stigma surrounding weed, and help connect students with jobs in the exploding legal cannabis industry, Cannaclub consists of a core 30 to 40 members with hundreds more connected through social media and an email chain.

Cannabis 101 at UCLA/Photo by Hayley Fox.

Mexico’s Drug War

The club was founded by Eugenio Castro Garza; a sophomore majoring in political science who moved to the U.S. from Cancún to enroll in college for one purpose.

“I came to UCLA a year ago with the explicit mentality of wanting to do something in cannabis,” he told L.A. Taco.

Castro, who has dual citizenship in Mexico and the U.S., was born in Texas to Mexican parents but spent the bulk of his life living in Mexico. Growing up in Cancún – “the crown jewel of tourism,” he said – Castro’s nuclear family was largely safe from the impending threat of drug cartels. However, he witnessed the bloodshed firsthand as his friends and family in Northern Mexico, where his mom is from, weathered shootings, kidnappings, and threats of violence at the hands of drug lords.

“There was a lot of people being killed and kidnapped, and all of this violence stemmed from the powerful drug cartels,” Castro recalled.

Eugenio Castro Garza founded Cannabis 101 at UCLA with hopes of learning everything he can about legal weed/Photo by Hayley Fox.

As a result, Castro was taught from a young age that weed was evil. His parents firmly believed it was “the devil’s lettuce,” he said. For a time, Castro believed that the mentality behind the war on drugs was correct. In short, drugs are bad and the only way to stem the trade was try to arrest and punish all involved.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Haley Fox on L.A. Taco

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Published: December 09, 2018

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