When Charles Pollack created a marijuana research center in 2016 at Thomas Jefferson University, his idea was considered visionary.
It was a chance to fashion Philadelphia into a global hub for marijuana education and innovation, and would help drive Pennsylvania’s ambitions to become the “Silicon Valley” of cannabis research.
Three years later, the center is in shambles.
Pollack, the founder, was forced to resign in April after he self-reported that he had sexually harassed a female subordinate. He had sent her amorous emails and slipped notes under her door, overwhelming her with unwanted attention, according to documents reviewed by The Inquirer. She rebuffed all his advances.
His departure set in motion a series of changes and revelations that have tarnished the university’s reputation and threatened the future of his creation: the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp.
A chorus of detractors, from former employees to key donors and leading marijuana researchers, are calling the center’s implosion “a tragedy” and “a disaster.”
Former advisers accuse the center and Jefferson of ethical lapses completely unrelated to Pollack’s personal foibles.