61°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Amherst’s “Pot Professor”

Professor Lyle E. Craker is a professor in the specialized department of Plant and Soil Sciences at UMass Amherst – as well as Rutgers University in New Jersey – with an extensive background in researching the therapeutic potential of naturally occurring herbs.

Prof. Craker’s latest endeavor in his established field of expertise deals with the medicinal advantages of one particular herb that has been the object of controversy around the world for decades – cannabis.

In a venture that has been granted full approval by the UMass Amherst administrative body, Craker is currently in the process of cultivating several different strains of the cannabis plant that are of a higher quality than what is commonly used for laboratory research to help determine whether the weed may serve any genuine purpose to the medical community, or has no true redeeming value. Craker also intends to seek an additional license to import seeds of strains with different levels of bioactive ingredients, as scientists in the Netherlands have been doing. The proximate goal of this project is to produce high quality plant material that is suitable for use in trials by DEA-approved physicians.

Although Craker’s work may become a flashpoint for the resurgence of marijuana law reform advocacy on the UMass campuses, the professor himself purportedly has no interest in such matters. When asked to comment on the issue by The Mass Media, Craker expressly stated that he has neither knowledge of nor interest in the work of organizations such as NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Legislation), or effecting any type of change in government policy towards the plant. He also made it clear that he categorically does not support the recreational use of cannabis.

The opinion of the student body with regard to Prof. Craker’s work with cannabis has not been gauged in any binding sense, but at a seminar held about two years ago, many of those students studying under Craker expressed great enthusiasm for testing the potential medicinal benefits of marijuana in a controlled environment.