A plot of hemp grew on the University of Kentucky Spindletop Research Farm in Lexington, Ky.

These three candidates could be the next leader of cannabis research in Colorado

The search is on this week for a permanent director for Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Institute of Cannabis Research.

Three finalists will interview for the position that has been temporarily been held by Jen Mullen, who previous worked in the CSU-Pueblo mass communications department and alongside President Lesley Di Mare.

The candidates are John B. Gettman, an associate professor of criminal justice; John Placyk Jr., an associate professor of biology; and Wendy MacColl, director of eLearning at Pikes Peak Community College.

John B. Gettman:

  • Worked for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in the 1980s before eventually becoming the organization’s national director.
  • Filed two separate challenges of marijuana’s status under the Controlled Substance Act — in 1995 and 2002.
  • Currently an associate professor at Shenandoah University and adjunct associate professor at University of Maryland University College.

John Placyk Jr.:

  • Manages a fully-funded research lab at the University of Texas at Tyler, where Placyk is a tenured associate professor of biology.
  • In his cover letter Placyk says he has no direct involvement with the science of cannabis, but is a “quick learner.”

Wendy MacColl:

  • MacColl has a media background, and is currently the director of eLearning at Pikes Peak Community College.
  • Experience working with grants and programs funded through grants.
  • In her cover letter, MacColl says she has a  “high level of awareness” regarding the legal issues facing the cannabis industry in Colorado.

The permanent director will be responsible for coordinating external partnerships and overseeing programming and funding.

Mullen said she was honored to return to CSU-Pueblo to assist with the construction of the institute, which is nearing its one year anniversary.

“It’s been a very, very quick learning process, “Mullen said.

Mullen said the new director must be one who understands the mission of the ICR— to conduct marijuana research and inform the public of its findings. She said the incoming director should have some knowledge of research at the university level and know how to build the institute, which is still in its beginning stages.

Eventually the new director will be responsible for hiring more administrative staff and finding new facilities for research. For now, however, Mullen said the permanent director must work on completing the vision for the ICR and expanding external partnerships.

“It’s going to take time,” Mullen said.

He or she will also have to coordinate with the incoming university president, Tim Mottet, who is slated to take over for President Lesley di Mare this summer.

The institute held its first cannabis research conference in April 2017 and accepted it first series of research applications. A peer-reviewed Journal of Cannabis Studies is still in progress.

Resumes and cover letters from each of the three candidates can be found here.

Kara Mason contributed to this report.