In what is believed to be the largest private gift yet to support scientific research on cannabis, a donor is giving $9 million to support Harvard and MIT work on cannabis and its effects on the brain.
The money comes from the marijuana industry itself, in a way. The donor, Manhattan-based financier Bob Broderick, made tens of millions of dollars by investing in the legal marijuana industry in Canada, he says.
Now, as states around this country legalize marijuana, he’s funneling some of that money to help fill what’s widely seen as an urgent need for solid research on how cannabis affects the brain.
“I saw an opportunity to take a kind of a leadership position in getting these two great cultural institutions involved in the discussion of cannabis in the country,” he says.
He also wants to combat any lingering taboo against doing research on cannabis, Broderick says.
“People take risks when they say, ‘I’m going to start doing cannabis work,’ ” he says. “For a young researcher at MIT or Harvard to say, ‘I’m going to pivot my career and study the effects of cannabis,’ I don’t think that’s something that would have happened five years ago.” [Read more at WBUR]