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Group wants marijuana studies program on campus

With California getting serious about legalizing marijuana, can university business courses be far behind? No, believes the Treatments, Herbs and Cannabis Foundation.

The program, which would initially offer a bachelor of science degree in business administration, would be “intended for the student who wishes to be involved in the evolution of today’s marijuana industry.”

legalise marijuana californiaThe foundation, which favors the spread of medical marijuana clubs, also would like to see a “California Marijuana Research Program” and “Authorized/University Operated Production Facilities.” Such programs would help to “bring forward and cleanse an industry currently infiltrated by gangs, criminals and frauds.”

So far, job postings and program details have been placed on Craigslist, an invitation to join the cause is on Facebook and letters have been dispatched to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, San Francisco D.A. Kamala Harris and Petaluma Police Chief Steve Hood, among others.

Any response? Well, the Craigslist job posting for the foundation’s CEO has received nearly 200 responses, said spokesman Joseph Tremolada. “Approximately 60 from well established corporate executives,” he added. See the Craigslist posting at links.sfgate.com/ZHBI .

Cuomo has called it “a rogue industry, offering consumers false hope, charging tremendous fees and leaving them in a worse financial situation.” Among the 15 companies on the receiving end of Cuomo’s subpoenas is Freedom Debt Relief in San Mateo, which promises to lower debts to “as low as 50 percent of what you owe.”

While Cuomo has made no specific allegations against any of the other named companies, the subpoenas reportedly seek information on their fee structures and how clients actually benefit. Calls for comment Monday to Freedom Debt Relief were not returned.

However, its general counsel, Robert Linderman, told the New York Times, “We’re delighted the attorney general is seeking information from the industry.” According to its Web site, the company has approximately 30,000 clients and 500 employees.

For more information from Cuomo’s office, go to www.oag.state.ny.us, or call (800) 771-7755.

It ain’t over till …: iShares, the San Francisco exchange-trade fund unit of Britain’s Barclays Bank PLC, was supposed to have been sold a month ago to Luxembourg’s CVC Capital. Not necessarily, it turns out.

Under a “go-shop” provision of the deal, Barclays left the door open to counter-bids for 45 days. And guess who’s barging back through that door, according to British press reports. San Francisco’s own Hellman & Friedman LLC, one of the losing contestants last time around.

Should Warren Hellman’s private equity firm be victorious the second time around – there are others reportedly in line – it’s likely to be paying a lot more than the $4.5 billion CVC Capital offered – $5.2 billion was one figure floated by a “person familiar with the talks.” A Hellman spokesman declined to comment.

Film at 11, or later: While we’re waiting to see if NBC decides to shoot its new medical drama “Trauma” in San Francisco, we might note that George Lucas is planning a 263,000-square-foot digital film studio in Marin County’s Lucas Valley (no relation), which would employ up to 340 people.

But just as NBC got strife when the S.F. Board of Supervisors stripped away a tax rebate the network thought it was getting for shooting the pilot here, so Lucas’ path is not obstacle-free.

Some residents and local organizations, fearing disruption, traffic and – as the president of the Marin Conservation League put it, an “esthetic intrusion on the landscape” – are pushing back, demanding, at least, a new environmental impact report. And we know how long those can take. The Lucas Valley Homeowners Association is scheduled to take up the matter on May 20.

Wise beyond their years: If you want to know what those in the truly plugged-in generation are thinking and doing, check out SDForum’s “Tech Titans of Tomorrow” confab on Wednesday at the Hewlett-Packard Auditorium in Palo Alto.

Titans from San Francisco’s Lick-Wilmerding High School and Los Altos High School are among the speakers, along with VCs and other seers. Check out www.sdforum.org for details.

Tips, feedback: E-mail bottomline@sfchronicle.com.

By Andrew S. Ross

http://www.sfgate.com

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