April 10, 2020 11:27 am ETEstimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
One of the more unfortunate impacts of cannabis’ status as an illegal substance has been the complications involved in research. Though we are beginning to unlock the true potential of cannabis for medicinal purposes, the sad fact is that many of the discoveries that are being made now could have come a lot sooner had it not been for the laws restricting access to cannabis.
However, times are changing, and cannabis legalization is beginning to grow more widespread. Among other things, that opens up new opportunities for research, as access to the cannabis plant grows easier.
Lake Superior State University has embraced the changing times by opening a cannabis training and research center.
The Path to Research
In 2008, twelve years after California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis, Michigan took the step of legalizing cannabis for medical use. However, recreational cannabis use would not begin to meet with legalization anywhere in the country for a further four years. Even though cannabis was legal medically, the restrictions on its procurement and distribution still complicated the path to successful research for any who were interested in conducting studies.
Because cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, it is necessary for those growing the plant for research purposes to gain approval from the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Lake Superior State University is, of course, in full compliance with this regulation. However, the growing legalization of cannabis makes it easier to get the approval needed to grow cannabis and conduct their research.
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Doors opened for the state of Michigan in 2018, when cannabis was legalized for recreational purposes. In addition, the state benefits from the fact that legalization is becoming more and more commonplace across the country. Michigan is not the outlier in wanting to study cannabis at the university level that they once would have been.
The Benefits For Students
The students at Lake Superior State University will have a lot to gain from the new research center. In the fall of 2019, the school implemented two new major programs—cannabis chemistry and cannabis business. Students wanting to seek a degree in either program will want to make use of the research center to deepen their understanding of cannabis and the role they can play in the burgeoning cannabis industry.
Because the cannabis industry is so new, it really is a prime time for those interested to get involved on the ground floor. The students at LSSU will be able to shape the way the industry develops, and the discoveries they make will be fundamental in determining the next few years of cannabis’ development. The next steps in legalization will depend on better defining cannabis’ use as a medical substance and on establishing cannabis’s role in the economy. The two majors offered by LSSU provide the perfect jumping-off point for the students to gain a toehold in the burgeoning cannabis industry and to help shape the way it will develop for years to come.
Careers in Cannabis
There are plenty of career options available to LSSU students who want to go into the field. Students who graduate with the cannabis chemistry or cannabis business degree will be ideally placed to start working as growers, budtenders, operators of dispensaries, supply chain managers, or marketers.
The industry is growing and developing so quickly, and it is so new, that the number of available jobs is currently increasing exponentially. It’s the perfect time to make the study of cannabis, and degrees in the subject, available to students. It will be interesting to see how many other schools follow LSSU’s lead.
Kat Helgeson comes from a ten year career in social media marketing and content creation. She takes pride in her ability to communicate the culture and values of an organization via the written word. Kat is also the author of numerous books for young adults. Her titles have received the Junior Library Guild Award, the Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year Distinction, and been featured on the Illinois Reads selection list. Her work has been translated into Dutch and German.
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