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How to Get a Cannabis Degree

Now that the cannabis industry is booming, people are searching for ways to learn about cannabis, the products made from the plant, and the ins and outs of the industry. Many people want to know if universities offer cannabis degrees or marijuana education.

Students are just beginning to understand the myriad of ways that they can apply cannabis therapy to their lives. These developments are opening up new career possibilities. Not only will we need more producers and sellers of marijuana and cannabis products, but we’ll need nurses and doctors to help people find the right therapy for their needs.

Because cannabis is such a young industry, pioneers are still laying the groundwork for long-term growth. Laws change quickly and regulations constantly fluctuate, so it’s difficult for people to find valid, up-to-date scholarly materials about cannabis education, let alone opportunities for traditional higher education and even cannabis degrees.

For now, most professionals are former amateurs who have learned through experience. However, schools and universities are beginning to offer cannabis education programs, and some are even offering cannabis degrees.

How to Get a Cannabis Degree

Consider the following in determining whether a cannabis education is right for you.

Where to Study

There are several universities that offer programs related to the marijuana industry, including:

In February 2019, Lake Superior State University became the first university to offer a program focused solely on Cannabis Chemistry. The program provides students with a solid cannabis chemistry foundation and the skills “necessary to gain employment in emerging cannabis markets of law enforcement laboratory scientist, public health and safety, regulatory management, and business applications”. LSSU also offers a Bachelor’s in Cannabis Business which allows students to take basic business management principles and apply them to cannabis business functions and operations. Students leave LSSU with all of the experience necessary to be successful cannabis business managers and operators.

Northern Michigan University offers its students a major in Medicinal Plant Chemistry. The school’s website cites the “great demand for qualified technical personnel” in the cannabis product industry. In the four-year undergraduate program, students learn about the biology of the cannabis plant as well as the current state of the industry and products. Students then choose to focus on an entrepreneurial or bio-analytical track of learning. Although Northern Michigan University touts its program as the only program of its kind, there are few other options for people seeking a marijuana degree.

Stockton University, in New Jersey, offers some classes related to the industry, including a minor in Cannabis Studies.

University of Denver‘s Strum College of Law offers classes on what lawyers need to know about constantly changing marijuana laws. Many lawyers who deal with marijuana laws post about their specialty in cannabis-related publications to find clients who need their services.

University of California – Davis lists a course called Medicinal Cannabis and Chronic Pain that focuses on the ways people use cannabis in their pain treatment plans.

The Ohio State University offers classes in Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform.

There are also several marijuana trade school programs, such as Oaksterdam University and Cleveland Cannabis College. These courses are not usually offered by accredited universities. Instead, experienced professionals offer students a more hands-on cannabis education complemented by instructional resources like books and digital materials.

Many big universities are hesitant to put money into marijuana research. Long-term studies could be sabotaged by a changing law, costing universities money and time. As the country continues to come around to the idea of marijuana use, you can expect more universities to fund research projects focused on marijuana.

What to Study

Studying cannabis agriculture could lead to a career growing marijuana. Cannabis cultivation education teaches people how to grow the best plants. Growing healthy, potent cannabis is the first step to creating effective marijuana products.

With a science degree, such as biology or chemistry, you could assist in improving conditions for plants or helping to create new strains. You could also help to develop new cannabis-based products.

Medicinal Marijuana is often legalized first in many areas, before recreational use. Many potential users are unsure how much and what kind of cannabis product to use. Cannabis healthcare professionals will be in high demand to help people navigate and understand their options.

Learning Cannabis Marketing could be a gateway to a thriving industry. As more products become available, the industry will need salespeople at every level.

Cannabis Business degrees help people learn how to become big players in the young cannabis industry. A cannabis business degree is most useful to people who want to be the executive in the cannabis industry.

Degrees in law and political science could earn you a job as a lobbyist or politician helping to shape marijuana laws or a lawyer defending the rights of people unfairly targeted for marijuana use.

What we need now, and will continue to need in the future, are cannabis educators. As cannabis use becomes more accepted and common among new groups, students want to enter the industry. Because the industry is poised for growth, people who have found success working in the industry or who have studied cannabis on their own can become teachers so that many more new professionals can be educated.

Marijuana Education at CannaCon

When you attend a CannaCon expo and you have the chance to network with industry leaders and learn more about the important of cannabis education for your future. Register now for an event near you.

The cannabis industry is booming which means that people are looking for cannabis education, specifically a cannabis degree. Check out these options.

Where Can You Get a Degree to Work in the Marijuana Industry?

The marijuana industry’s exponential growth in the last several years created numerous opportunities in the mainstream economy. But kinks in the industry, including regulatory ones, are still being worked out. To that extent, it is still nascent and needs a professionally-trained workforce to firm up its contours. Currently, there are relatively few colleges or universities that train students in this field. Here is a brief primer on growth prospects for marijuana-related courses and colleges that offer them.

Marijuana remains illegal or heavily controlled in some states, so check your local laws before investing in an education that you may not be able to use.

Why Does the Marijuana Industry Need Professionals?

More than anything else, the marijuana industry is a business opportunity. A change in public attitudes regarding the industry led to a growing realization about the numerous commercial and medicinal benefits of marijuana. For instance, cannabis is being used in trials to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for soldiers returning from war.   That is in addition to the plant’s already prevalent uses as a medicine.

As states legalize marijuana, the business opportunities multiply. Research firm Cowen & Co. estimated that the weed market will be worth $75 billion by 2030. That will mean new jobs in businesses comprising a wide array of positions, from customer success to business development reps to chemists, botanists, and finance-related jobs. An applicant intimate with the industry’s nuances will be a natural fit for these positions.

The marijuana industry is becoming increasingly respectable and creating high-paying jobs in the process. Cannabis consultants, dispensary operators, cannabis extraction technicians, grow masters, and marijuana chefs all have the potential to earn significant amounts.

Where Can You Learn About Marijuana?

Northern Michigan University offers a degree program related to marijuana. According to the school’s website, there is a “major gap in educational opportunities available to prepare people for this field.” Students at the university can opt for the “Medicinal Plant Chemistry” undergraduate major, which has subjects that include the business and chemistry of marijuana.   These subjects include organic chemistry, plant physiology, botany, accounting, genetics, physical geography, and financial management. At the end of the course, graduating students are ready for careers in marijuana research or to open their own marijuana-related business ventures.

Oaksterdam University in California is another place to study for a career in the marijuana industry.   The university advertises itself as America’s first cannabis college and offers certificate programs in subjects related to marijuana. Prospective students at the university can either opt for business- or horticulture-related subject certification. The business certificates cover regulatory and management aspects of marijuana, while the horticulture track deals with the intricacies of growing marijuana. The Cleveland School of Cannabis, which is located in Ohio, has a similar setup and offers certificate programs, as well as online courses via Zoom.  

The University of Vermont now offers a variety of online classes and certificates related to marijuana.   Online cannabis science and medicine modules are available, with access to materials unlocked within 24 hours. Furthermore, the University of Vermont grants Cannabis Science and Medicine Professional Certificates and Professional Certificates in Cannabis Plant Biology. The certificate programs are fully online, and students can finish them in less than two months.

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) has a Cannabis Studies program that provides various courses to help students understand all the facets of the marijuana industry.   Besides classes in “The Horticulture and Botany of Cannabis” and “The Pharmacology and Physiology of Cannabis,” FGCU also has courses on “Marijuana Law” and “Cannabusiness.”

Moving Forward

The broad and continually evolving nature of the marijuana industry means that it is fertile ground for students from multiple subjects. To that extent, specialized degrees from other fields can also provide a foothold for growth in the industry.

For example, a degree in horticulture makes professionals knowledgeable about marijuana cultivation. Similarly, a business degree can also prepare students for careers in the industry. Realizing the industry’s potential, even the prestigious Yale School of Management has jumped into the fray. In February of 2018, the Ivy League university’s business school held a conference to “discuss the opportunities and challenges of legal cannabis.”  

The Bottom Line

The marijuana industry is poised to become a major contributor to the economy. As the industry matures and grows, it will need the services of a wide array of professionals and experts from multiple disciplines to hone its products for customers and deal with regulatory affairs. To fill that need, universities around the United States have begun offering courses and certifications in marijuana studies.

Many expect the marijuana industry to skyrocket in the next few years. Here is a brief primer on institutions offering degrees related to the field.