From courses on Harry Potter, to Beyonce, and the physics of Star Trek, pop culture has certainly invaded the college course workload. And now, universities are adding cannabis to their course catalogues.
The cannabis job market is proving to be one of the fastest growing markets in the U.S. In fact, according to a recent 2020 Jobs Report by Leafly, cannabis businesses added nearly 78,000 industry jobs in 2020 alone.
As a result, college campuses are diversifying their offerings with singular classes to graduate degree programs in an effort to prepare them for jobs in the cannabis industry.
5 Cannabis Studies Programs at Colleges Across the U.S.
1. Santa Rosa Junior College
Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) in Sonoma County, California revised its environmental and sustainable horticulture programs to include industrial hemp. According to SRJC:
“Industrial hemp represents a multi-billion dollar industry and is poised to grow exponentially following federal legalization in 2018. Part of SRJC’s mission as a community college is to train students for high-demand careers. SRJC will be the first community college in California—and possibly the United States—to offer a fully-accredited certificate and AS degree program focused on hemp.”
2. Northern Michigan University
Northern Michigan University (NMU) in Marquette, Michigan offers a four-year, undergraduate degree program in Medicinal Plant Chemistry. The major focuses on the intricacies of medical cannabis and the legalities surrounding it. Furthermore, the program requires a background in chemistry and plant biology and is unique to the analysis of natural cannabis.
While NMU’s Medicinal Plant Chemistry degree favors a scientific approach to the study of cannabis, students interested in business will find opportunities in the degree as well.
“When approving this degree, our president was very interested in what’s new and what could be done,” chief marketing officer at NMU, Derek Hall told Emerald. “When this proposal came forward, we saw it as a great opportunity to be the first ones out to really introduce this [cannabis] in the traditional education setting.
3. University of Maryland, Shady Groves
Continuing the trend, the University of Maryland’s School of Pharmacy has created the nation’s first graduate program for cannabis. Their two-year Master’s of Science in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics specifically focuses on medical cannabis, including its clinical uses.
This graduate degree is for students with a bachelor’s degree who are interested in entering the medical cannabis industry. Therefore, a background in medicine is not required. That’s because their program adapts to most bachelor’s degrees, according to the program overview.
4. Clark University
Clark University (CU) in Worcester, Massachusetts offers a certificate in Regulatory Affairs for Cannabis Control. The certificate includes “three online graduate level courses.” The classes center on public policy, according to the course catalogue. With the growing societal acceptance of cannabis, CU focuses on providing education in the modern development of cannabis and public health affairs.
Public policy concerning cannabis governs several areas of the industry. Therefore, CU allows students to explore the stigma and history that has controlled society’s impression of cannabis for generations.
5. University of California, Davis
The University of California, Davis, (UC Davis) also offers undergraduate courses for those interested in how cannabis affects the human body.
UC Davis specifically designed this degree for students with a background in medicine or science. For example, it focuses on the endocannabinoid system, history, and the pros and cons of medical cannabis treatments.
There are numerous other universities in the U.S. that are also beginning to introduce cannabis to college classrooms. Institutions in areas like Colorado or San Francisco, for example, are booming with cannabis culture and are providing “higher” education for their students as well.