Adam Rosenberg was supposed to be a doctor. Instead, he is now the founder and Executive Director of Green Wolverine, a national nonprofit and college organization that disseminates education about cannabis. And he hasn’t even graduated college yet.
This career veer started in his early days at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Originally, he sought to be a doctor, like his father, and started his pre-med path. But during one of his shadowing experiences in the medical industry, he came upon a fascinating phenomenon.
“While I was working at a pain management medical center, I discovered a majority of the patients tested positive for THC, a chemical found in cannabis,” Rosenberg, 22, says. “No one was prescribing this; they were seeking it out themselves to manage their pain.”
This observation peaked his interest in the medical potential of cannabis and pretty soon he was working at Liv Wellness, a medical marijuana dispensary. There he became a bud tender, or patient consultant, a role that reaffirmed the potential of cannabis as a pain management tool.
A BUDDING IDEA
Rosenberg’s experience in this field opened his eyes to the stigmas and lack of education surrounding cannabis. How could he press the restart button? Education, he concluded, would be his most powerful ally. So he formed an entirely new student organization at Michigan: Green Wolverine, founded in 2017.
“Green Wolverine’s objective is not to promote or discourage the use of cannabis, its goal is to educate and disseminate information about the cannabis business, and allow people to come to their own conclusions,” Rosenberg explains.
“There’s a lot of misinformation from both sides,” adds Green Wolverine Medical Research Committee Chair, Juan Aguirre, also 22. “Green Wolverine gives us a platform to discuss the latest medical and business opportunities in the legal cannabis industry.”
Green Wolverine quickly took off. Over 100 members joined in its first semester on campus. In less than two years, Rosenberg’s idea has grown from an on-campus club into a national nonprofit.
“Students from other universities reached out when they learned what we were doing,” Rosenberg brightly states. “Now, you can find chapters of Green Wolverine across the country from Berkeley in California to Syracuse in New York.”
The establishment of the club couldn’t have come at a better time. Both the medical and recreational marijuana industries are poised to take off. In 2016, California legalized the recreational use of marijuana, unleashing billions of dollars into the marketplace. Most recently and relevant to the Green Wolverine team, Michigan voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis during yesterday’s (November 6) mid-terms. Meanwhile, Utah and Missouri passed laws to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana. Despite still being illegal at the federal level, some 33 states have legalized the use of medicinal marijuana and another 10 states plus Washington D.C. have legalized recreational use.
THE SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM
While Rosenberg now helms the national side of things, for the last year he worked tirelessly for the Michigan chapter in Ann Arbor. Its crowning achievement? The Science Symposium. A brainchild of Aguirre, Rosenberg and Michigan professor, Dr. Gus Rosania, the Science Symposium set out to spread education about the medical business side of cannabis to a larger audience.
“I met Adam Rosenberg and Juan Aguirre while attending a local business-oriented cannabis conference that they had organized,” Dr. Rosania explains. “I suggested that they consider organizing a 100% science conference focusing on medicinal cannabis. I encouraged them to invite the top cannabis scientists in the U.S. and to keep it broad and balanced.”
With help from Dr. Rosania, the university’s School of Pharmacy, School of Nursing, and the Ross School of Business, the Science Symposium took root.
Over the next nine months, the organization gathered a diverse group of 10 speakers. The resulting talks on September 29, 2018, were fascinating. Dr. Daniel Clauw dove into cannabinoids and their potential health benefits, while Dr. Sue Sisley, the only FDA-approved cannabis researcher in the country, shared the current hurdles facing research. Every speaker made the most of their stage time.
All in all, over 200 people attended the Science Symposium, and the live stream of the event gained another 250 viewers. Club members have even started taking snippets of talks and turning them into quick snippet videos.
“While the lectures were fantastic and the information amazing, the moment that made me the proudest was the Q and A section,” Rosenberg says. “Being able to hear people voice their questions and hear answers from the top experts was really exciting.”
The event was a complete success for Green Wolverine. “We accomplished what we set out to accomplish,” Rosenberg boasts. “Not only that, it was great to see how accepted this topic is becoming. I hope that events like this will drive more studies on the topic in the near future.”