Marijuana, which still remains illegal in several US states, is increasingly becoming a part of curriculum in growing number of colleges. Students opting to graduate in the subject are being prepared for careers in researching, analyzing, cultivating and marketing of the recreational herb.
The subject has been added as a new four-year degree program in medicinal plant chemistry. One of the first students to the program at Northern Michigan University, Grace DeNoya shared her experience stating that people get stunned when they learn that she’s majoring in marijuana.
“My friends make good-natured jokes about getting a degree in weed,” she added.
The addition of cannabis to the curriculum followed a green gold rush in legal marijuana and expansion of its non-drug cousin hemp across North America.
Arcview Market Research, which focuses on cannabis industry trends, revealed that there is a bright future for all sort of careers in cannabis, including greenhouse and dispensary operators to edible product developers, quality assurance lab directors, marketing specialists and pharmaceutical researchers. It asserted that by 2022, the industry will support nearly 467,000 jobs.
Even the states where marijuana is still illegal; their colleges have started to launch cannabis studies programs. New York, Connecticut and New Jersey are some of the states that are expecting the legalization of the herb. Otherwise, the students can work in other states.
A chemistry professor at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Brandon Canfield proposed a new major in medicinal plant chemistry two years ago. He explained that the students, under the four-year degree program, won’t be growing marijuana. They will rather learn to measure and extract medicinal compounds from plants like St. John’s Wort and ginseng, and transfer that knowledge to marijuana.
Besides, Minot State University in North Dakota will be launching a similar program this spring. As a boom in cannabis-related jobs is expected, several colleges have started with a range of offerings. Harvard, Ohio State University, the University of Denver and Vanderbilt offer classes on marijuana policy and law. Besides, Colorado State University offers a cannabis studies minor that focuses on legal, political, social and health impacts.
As of now, 33 states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, while 10 as a recreational drug. As it is still under federal restrictions, universities have been able to conduct only little research on the herb.
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