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Lycoming College’s Scholars Program and Institute for Management Studies (IMS) will host a lecture on the cannabis industry and whether cannabis should be legalized. President of Schwazze Biosciences Jim Parco will speak on the topic Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. in room D001 in the Academic Center. The event is free and open to the public.
The Lycoming College Scholars Program is designed to meet the needs of high-performing students through semester-long interdisciplinary themes, with the current semester focusing on cannabis. “The Scholars seminars address topics from a variety of perspectives, from biological and chemical to political and social to cultural and economic perspectives,” said Cullen Chandler, professor of history and director of the Scholars Program. “Parco’s perspective will be enlightening as the seminar discusses the issues of regulations and business practices.”
In 2014, Parco and his wife founded Mesa Organics in Pueblo County, bringing the cannabis industry to southern Colorado. The Parcos grew their small retail store to four dispensaries and created Purplebee’s, a leading Colorado pure CO2 and ethanol extractor and manufacturer. Parco is credited in creating one of the nation’s largest cannabis supply chains as well as becoming the first to legalize cannabis in the United States. Purplebee’s partnered with Los Suenos Farms, one of the largest outdoor cultivations. In 2020, Purplebee’s and Mesa Organics merged with Schwazze, the largest cannabis operator in Colorado.
Prior to his position as a professor at Colorado College, Parco served 24 years in the United States Air Force. While on active duty, he was selected to serve tours on the National Security Council at the White House and at the American Embassy in Israel in a diplomatic capacity. He also taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy and Air Command & Staff College, where he won the top teaching and research awards. He retired as a lieutenant colonel and joined the faculty of Colorado College in 2011.
Parco has published over two dozen peer-reviewed publications as well as authored six books, with his latest currently in the press. Earlier this year, he joined the executive team of Schwazze and ran manufacturing until the company announced the creation of their bioscience division with Parco as its president.
“Liberal arts colleges emphasize the ability to teach critical thinking,” said Georg Grassmueck, associate professor of business administration and department chair. “Jim Parco, as you have seen from his biography, exemplifies the idea of a liberal arts education. He lives and breathes liberal arts and what it represents.”