Grace DeNoya is majoring in marijuana and her friends make jokes about it. However, she does not mind getting a diploma in weed.
She is taking up a four-year medicinal plant chemistry degree at Northern Michigan University. Some people may snicker, but it is a serious degree based on organic chemistry.
Many academic institutions are now offering a marijuana curriculum to prepare students for careers in marketing, researching, cultivating, and analyzing cannabis.
According to studies, careers in cannabis will be popular as demands for dispensary and greenhouse operators, marketing specialists, edible product developers, pharmaceutical researchers, and QA laboratory directors grow in numbers.
According to Arcview Market Research, by 2022, the cannabis will generate 467,000 jobs. The research firm focuses on trends in the cannabis industry.
Colleges in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and other states that have not legalized recreational marijuana are also offering cannabis studies because they anticipate its legalization soon. In addition, they want to prepare their graduates for careers in other states.
Northern Michigan University chemistry professor Brandon Canfield said that the academe is fast tracking entry into the cannabis industry. The professor proposed the new curriculum two years ago after attending a conference where representatives from the sector presented the urgent need for chemists to provide quality assurance and assessment.
According to Canfield, the four-year degree has around 300 students from 48 states. The State of Michigan has recently legalized recreational marijuana use, but students will not be planting it. On the other hand, they will learn to assess and extract compounds from ginseng and St. John’s Wort, and transfer what they learned to marijuana.
North Dakota’s Minot State University also launched a similar program this spring so that students can learn laboratory skills they can use on hops, food science, medical marijuana, and botanical supplements industries.
Canfield said that the graduates could be laboratory analysts and earn $70,000 right after graduation. They could also start their own business if they opt for the entrepreneurial track that has courses in marketing, legal issues, and accounting.
Colorado State University, on the other hand, provides a cannabis studies minor to focus on the health, political, legal, and social impacts of the medicinal plant. Vanderbilt, the University of Denver, Harvard, and Ohio State University offer classes on marijuana law and policy.
Previously, federal law restricts marijuana research. However, the change is evident because UCLA’s Cannabis Research Initiative is trailblazing with its academic programs and studies of the medicinal plant with research ranging from medicinal treatments to economic impacts. In addition, the University of Connecticut will launch its cannabis horticulture program this school year.
State University of New York – Morrisville will also launch a cannabis studies minor this year. However, students will not work with marijuana, but with hemp and other plants instead. They can be interns at medical marijuana facilities. Stockton University in New Jersey launched interdisciplinary cannabis minor last year. Moreover, it is now in academic collaborations with Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University to provide students with opportunities for research work and internships in hemp and medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana is already legal in 33 states. Moreover, 10 states have legalized use of recreational marijuana. The 2018 Farm bill now makes it legal to grow hemp legally, although federal law still makes it illegal to cultivate marijuana. It is about time for colleges to offer marijuana curriculum.