File “going to college to study weed” under things that would’ve made a stoner’s head explode in 1972 (or pitches for failed Seth Rogen movies).
Of course, those in the biz know it’s not all fun and games. The cannabis industry is only growing — with two more states passing legalization initiatives earlier this month — and colleges are recognizing the demand for new cannabis-oriented courses in business, medicine, research, and policy.
Here are seven schools with interesting cannabis courses:
Lake Superior State University — cannabis chemistry, business, cannabis center of excellence
This Michigan school is a hub for cannabis studies, preparing both aspiring cannabis tech workers and future business owners for success in the field. The Cannabis Center of Excellence opened in 2020 — the first of its kind in the United States — for cannabis chemistry education and research (and they collect really cool machines like a mass spectrometer). The college offers two degrees: one is in chemistry and aims to prepare students for emerging markets and technologies. The other is a business degree that sets up graduates for jobs in the fields of retail, manufacturing, and other less research-intensive areas. No word yet on whether the business students get to use the spectrometer.
Johnson & Wales University — cannabis entrepreneurship BS
This school, based in Providence, Rhode Island, teaches new high school grads the basics of how to build a non-psychoactive cannabis business from the ground up. (This is probably the degree Seth Rogen would enroll in by accident, and in the first lecture he’d go, “Aww, man!”) Before you start to learn about weed, you learn basic entrepreneurship. Then, you move onto how to develop CBD and related products “from seed to distribution.” Courses include Cannabis Law, Plant Cultivation, Foundations in Chemistry, Pitching & Planning New Ventures, and more. Entry into the program requires a GPA of 2.75 or higher (so it’s unclear if Seth would even get in).
Thomas Jefferson University — MS in Medical Cannabis Science & Business
TJU couldn’t decide what it wanted to teach students about cannabis, so it chose “everything”. This online MS takes between 1.5 to four years (depending on whether you’re full or part time) and aims to set students up to become researchers, scientists, entrepreneurs, or healthcare providers. The fifteen courses are split up between business, medicine, science, society, and research and run the gamut from Emerging Issues in the Cannabis Industry to Conventional & Cannabinoid Therapy of Disease.
Rowan University — Cannabis Commercialization Concentration MBA
Rowan’s MBA is marketed as the only one accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Rowan is a public research university in Glassboro, NJ, but this degree is online, so professors can’t see students’ red eyes. It’s a thirty-six-credit curriculum — eighteen of which are information about the cannabis industry as a whole, while the other eighteen can be customized to suit the cannabusiness path students want to take. The custom courses include things like Advanced Chemical Analysis of Cannabinoids; Cannabis Research, Program Evaluation, and Policy Development; and Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization in Work, Leisure, and Settings — all of which can also be read about at mjbrandinsights.com (except the, uh, advanced chemical analysis stuff).
University of Colorado, Anschutz — Cannabis Science & Medicine MS
This online Master’s of Science is less businessy, instead focusing on the science and medicine behind the plant. It’s largely self-directed, using case-based discussions and activities guided by experts like clinical researchers, chemists and pharmacologists. Instead of the full MS, students can also opt for an eleven-hour graduate certificate, aimed at healthcare professionals who want to up their game.
University of Maryland — Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics MS
This MS focuses on the medical cannabis industry through working directly with patients, adding to the growing body of research, or developing medical cannabis policy. But — lucky for spunky potheads with big dreams — it’s specifically designed to be approachable for students with no background in science or medicine. The seventeen courses teach students about the history of medical weed, pharmacology and clinical effects, different therapies and state laws, patient advocacy and more.
LIM College — Business of Cannabis BBA
This degree can be taken online or on LIM’s New York City campus. Unlike other degrees focused on helping students grow an academic body of knowledge, this one advertises itself as the one that will get you a job, stat. It comes with three required internships over the four-year bachelor’s. Since it’s not a grad school degree, it provides a bevy of options for students to pick and choose their own degree based on their interests — like Cannabis Product Development and Merchandising, The Marketing of Cannabis, and The Cannabis Supply Chain.