There is a new organization on campus that has high expectations after getting approval in late March. The Cannabis Business Organization (CBO) is a new organization on campus that gives students an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the growing industry of cannabis products such as CBD and hemp.
Anton Ferraro is a senior entrepreneurial management major and president of CBO. He talked about how important this club is to Coastal students.
“This organization exists to provide a platform for entrepreneur-slash-business type students looking to enter the legal cannabis industry upon graduation,” said Ferraro. “It is open to anyone, whether you are just wanting to know more about it or are looking to make money.”
Ferraro talked about why he decided to make an effort to create this organization.
"[I created this club] to give Coastal students who were interested in the industry an opportunity," said Ferraro. "I also wanted CCU to be a pioneer of this type of organization in South Carolina. I felt that it would be an organization eventually in this state so I thought 'why not now'?"
Ferraro elaborated on the challenges that came with getting this club created since its foundation is something of a rather controversial topic.
“The process was certainly challenging,” said Ferraro. “When I first started seeing if this was even possible back in October, I looked at every other organization’s constitution while writing ours and I knew that mine had to be ten times better than everyone else’s to even have a shot.”
Ferraro said that he reviewed any documents that Coastal Carolina had on this topic such as the Drug and Alcohol policy and Student Handbook in order to steer clear of violating any rules and regulations that were set by the university.
Ferraro hopes that students will give the organization a chance in hearing more to what the organization is really all about.
“We are hoping that we can gain insight from students through networking events, have some industry professionals come in and be guest speakers and hopefully pair with local businesses in the community and in return grow their business,” said Ferraro.
Senior Jake Fiacco, a senior information and technology major, is good friends with Ferraro and elaborated more on how he got involved with this organization.
“I really liked the idea and it is incredibly new,” said Fiacco. “The main objective is that this is a new growing field that we would like to bring to Coastal Carolina.”
There is a stigma that surrounds cannabis products. Many people believe that marijuana is a gateway drug and that products stemming from the cannabis plant should not be allowed in the hands of anyone.
“Breaking that stigma is probably something that is going to take years,” said Ferraro.
Fiacco, a New Jersey native, added on how this organizations plans to break that stigma.
“New Jersey is willing to legalize it due to the market,” said Fiacco. “There is a lot of promise in [the market]. There are people out there that would never touch a THC-oriented product that are now looking into and utilizing more oil-based type of cannabis.”
Currently, all uses of marijuana – from medical to recreational – are illegal in the state of South Carolina. However, Fiacco says that the out-of-state population will actually benefit from this organization since some students “may not plan on staying in South Carolina after they graduate.”
As of right now, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana products. South Carolina is not one of those states. And while marijuana is illegal on Coastal’s campus, there are still alternatives that students can utilize such as CBD.
And while CBD products are not allowed in housing, students can use these products at their liking on campus. Ferraro says that he wants there to be a more user-friendly environment across campus and the community.
“There are plenty of benefits from these products,” said Ferraro. “It is not all negative like it has been perceived. As new research is done, I think we will see going forward that there are a lot more benefits than drawbacks.”
The organization held their first meeting on Wednesday, April 17 and Ferraro said that meeting was a huge success.
"It definitely exceeded our expectations," said Ferraro. "I was anticipating about 25 people but there were at least 40 people there for our first meeting. I think everyone was engaged and showing interest into what we were about."
Senior Alexis Ortiz, director of marketing outreach for the organization, said that there will not be a second meeting before school lets out in May but be sure to be on the lookout for what the organization does next over the summer and heading into the 2019 Fall semester.
"We did not want to put together a low quality second meeting, plus finals are coming up and we want to make each meeting great every single time," said Ortiz. "Going forward, we have a lot of great events planned for the fall."
To find out more about the Cannabis Business Organization, follow them on Instagram at @ccu_cbo.