Higher education remains vital in today’s global economy. In the United States, having a university degree opens up more doors than it closes. And while situations like debt or time commitment scare some aware from choosing higher education, the fact is that college prepares students for the real world in ways that extend beyond the books.
Cannabis and universities are historically linked only through college parties, experimentation, and that weird guy next door with the collection of bongs. However, the landscape is changing, and cannabis is a major economic and cultural player as the decade comes to a close. Because cannabis is growing in popularity, legalization, and use, there is a growing desire for qualified, educated individuals to lead the way in cannabis innovation and understanding.
But for those who wish to get involved in the world of cannabis, many are asking where to begin. More and more universities across the nation are starting to offer courses—and in some cases, degrees—related to the field of cannabis business, medicine, law, and more. There are even unique schools that focus solely on cannabis business, production, and innovation.
Today we’ll take a brief look at some of the universities and other programs that offer you a chance to get an education focused on cannabis.
1. University of Maryland
The University of Maryland offers those pursuing a master’s degree to focus on Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics. This Master of Science (M.S.) degree is a two-year program where graduates will study the science of medical cannabis including pharmacology, chemistry, and delivery systems. Students will also learn about the clinical uses of medical cannabis as well as its few health risks and legal policies.
This program is great for those with a bachelor’s degree in a science or medicine related field who wish to continue their studies and enter into the world of medical cannabis. Requirements include a bachelor’s from an accredited university, three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, an essay, an online application, and a CV/resume.
2. Clark University
Clark University provides something different from other colleges: a Certificate in Regulatory Affairs for Cannabis Control. This program is great for those who wish to be the center of cannabis policy and understanding as the medical cannabis industry charges ahead.
There are many focuses of this certificate. As a student, you’ll learn about zoning, taxing, licensing, and more as you work to master the art of regulation control. If any industry could use proper oversight and knowledge it is the legal cannabis industry.
The course is two semesters long. Upon completion students with a 3.0 GPA or higher are qualified to pursue a Master of Public Administration through the university.
3. Northern Michigan University
Chemists are increasingly relevant and necessary in the budding field of medical cannabis. Northern Michigan University provides prospective students the chance to learn about plant biology and chemistry so that they may go on to work in cannabis as innovators in experimental horticulture. The degree—a bachelor’s in Medicinal Plant Chemistry—is an exciting direction for those who want to meld their love of science and cannabis.
There are two tracks in this program: the Entrepreneurial Track and the Bio-analytical Track. The first focuses on the business side of natural medicines while the Bio-analytical Track will guide you towards advanced knowledge of chemistry and biology.
4. Oaksterdam University
Oaksterdam University is different than a traditional college in the sense that it focuses solely on cannabis studies. Founded in 2007, it is the oldest cannabis-only college. At Oaksterdam, students will have a choice between Horticulture and Cannabis Business as study programs.
The Horticulture program takes students through an in-depth and hands-on curriculum of plant cultivation and management “from seed to harvest.” The Cannabis Business route is aimed at business management, cannabis law, policies, and product development.
The courses are offered over Semesters and Seminars. Seminars last between 4 and 5 days and jam the entire semester into a single week. Semesters take place over 14 weeks where students meet once a week for 2.5-hour classes. Both provide a certificate upon successful completion.
Do note that this is not a bachelor’s type degree, as it is only a certificate program.
5. Clover Leaf University
If you’re looking for an accredited university focused on cannabis, Clover Leaf University is the one. This university is approved and regulated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Private Occupational School Board. CLU is a newer school, but its focuses are tight, informative, and competitive. As a bonus for attending their program, you will be allowed to work in the state of Colorado in the cannabis industry despite not being a resident.
Programs are offered in horticulture, business and law, and cannabis medical training. Being that this is an occupational education you will not receive a degree but a certification for the completed program of choice. Further, CLU offers Credits for Continuing Legal Education and Credits for Medical Professional that can be used as transfer credits for higher education purposes.
6. University of Washington
Washington state is a prime location to enhance one’s knowledge of cannabis due to the legal status of both recreational and medical cannabis. At the University of Washington, law students have the option to participate in the Cannabis Law and Policy Project (CLPP), a program that highlights the need for thoughtful, educated minds delegating the laws surrounding medical and recreational cannabis.
Through the CLPP law, students will become familiar with how cannabis relates to business, medicine, intellectual property, banking, ethics, environmental regulations, agriculture, and constitutional law.
7. University of Denver
Colorado is a hotspot for cannabis enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and hobbyists due to the legal status of recreational and medical cannabis. The University of Denver has a unique course on offer: cannabis journalism. This 4 credit course dives into the world of cannabis legalization and hopes to present students with an original and interesting perspective from which to craft culture-defining stories at a local and national level.
This program is perfect for those with an interest in covering the constantly shifting cannabis landscape. Stories are to be found each day that highlight new, exciting topics surrounding cannabis. Denver is also one of the most cannabis-friendly cities out of the legal states, so students would do well to take in not only the academic offerings but the local delicacies, too.
Education and Beyond
While there are other programs that offer cannabis-focused programs, courses, and certifications our list should be used as a starting point. Take what we’ve shared, light the flame of passion, and pursue your cannabis education to the fullest. Only this way will the national dialogue turn to the positive and accepting tones that legal cannabis deserves.
Beyond education lies a growing economy that is rife with jobs and career opportunities. No matter your direction—educational or otherwise—always remember to bring your passions to prosperity. Cannabis, for many, maybe the ticket to a dream job.