A four-year educational degree in Cannabis might have sounded like a good joke a few years ago; however, it’s 2019 and a major in Cannabis is now a reality.
The North Michigan University along with a handful of other institutes in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut is now offering cannabis as part of its curriculum. So, once a student graduates from these universities, they are all set to pick up anything — from cultivating and research to analyzing and marketing — as their careers.
The credit for the idea of a four-year degree, which is perhaps the closest thing to a major in marijuana at an accredited U.S. university like the NMU, goes to Brandon Canfield, a chemistry professor at the said University, who felt that in the coming years, there may be a very high demand for quality assessment and assurance executives.
Recent research on the cannabis industry trends states that by the end of 2022 over 4,67,000 university pass-outs will be employed in the industry. Ranging from the greenhouse and dispensary operations to edible product development and pharmaceutical research, there are plenty of professions to choose from.
The NMU program has already attracted over 300 students from 48 states and is looking like an exciting career prospect to many. However, the involvement of weed doesn’t make it a “recreational” course, as a lot of organic chemistry is involved, which might even be given nightmares to many students, believes Grace DeNoya, one of the first students to be enrolled in the degree program at the NMU.
Students though will not be taught how to grow marijuana. Instead, professor Canfield says that students will learn to precisely measure and extract compounds from plants like St. John’s Wort and Ginseng, the knowledge gained through which will then be applied to study marijuana.
As time is progressing, more universities are adding similar courses to their curriculum. For instance, the Minot State University in North Dakota is all set to offer its own degree program in medicinal cannabis, come spring. In an official statement, the MSU said that it will teach students modern-day lab skills, which will be applicable to not just medicinal marijuana but also other branches like food science industries, botanical supplements, etc. Not to forget that these are extremely well-paying industries – even as high as $70,000, no matter the choice of field you make once you graduate.
Even the Colorado State University has now begun offering a cannabis minor, with a major focus on legal, social, political and health impacts.
Owing to a number of federal restrictions, the universities were earlier reluctant to carry out deep research on cannabis; however, with the relaxing of norms and more awareness around the medicinal benefits of cannabis, the landscape is rapidly changing. Even agricultural schools have now started to spring into action. For instance, the University of Connecticut is all geared up to launch its cannabis horticulture program anytime soon.
Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, an assistant professor at the State University of New York at Morrisville, says that though students are not getting the first-hand experience with Marijuana inside the university premises, they can always opt for internships at various medical marijuana facilities. In fact, Stockton University, New Jersey, in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, is already offering students a number of internships in hemp and medical marijuana.
In the United States, medical marijuana is legal in as many as 33 states, while for recreational purposes your ‘horizon’ is limited to only 10 states, most of which do not require a doctor’s prescription though.
If you are looking to pursue a career in this red-hot niche, then this is the ideal time to strike!