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Higher Education

Written by Jim Hinckley

July 18, 2021

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In the closing weeks of 2018 the University of Connecticut announced that their spring curriculum would include a class entitled Horticulture of Cannabis: From Seed to Harvest. In an interview published in the Hartford Courant, Professor Gerard Berkowitz said, “We ran out of seats before half of the university could register for the course. There’s going to be more students taught in this one class than in my department, all the professors, all the classes they teach, both semesters.”

At the time of the announcement, this was considered revolutionary. Of course when The Bud Farmacy opened in Needles, California, a relatively conservative town on the Colorado River, that too was deemed a milestone. Since then similar studies are now being offered at universities throughout the United States.

Now at least five colleges in Massachusetts offer classes or certificate programs for anyone wanting to professionally cash in on the state’s ever growing cannabis industry. As an example, an undergraduate course is being offered at Boston University. The curriculum was designed for students interested in researching and developing policies to ensure the marijuana business is equitable. And Holyoke Community College recently established a Cannabis Education Center.

In May 2021, the University of Maryland graduated its first class to complete the masters’ program medical marijuana. Rowan University, with Cooper Medical School, is also offering related classes. This schools program is for students interested in researching the economic impact on legalized marijuana in New Jersey.

In fall 2019, San Diego City College began offering a two-credit course on the Business of Cannabis. Indicative of the classes relevance consider an economic development report that predicted the cannabis industry would create more than 10,000 new jobs in California.

The San Diego City College program focuses on the business specifics of operating a medicinal marijuana dispensary. This includes basics of related horticulture, accounting, marketing, security and packaging. The first class series also included speakers includes such as State Assemblyman Todd Gloria and State Treasurer Fiona Ma..

In Arizona, Scottsdale Community College initiated a similar eight-week education course. Upon completion entrepreneurs will have the tools needed to succeed in the cannabis industry. As with the classes in San Diego, students learn dispensary focused business planning, regulations and funding.

Recently introduced draft legislation at the federal level provides further indication that the public perception of marijuana, dispensaries such as The Bud Farmacy and CBD products is changing.

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act introduced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) would remove the drug from the Controlled Substances Act. It would also decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

The act, if passed, would impose a federal tax on marijuana derived products. The resultant revenue would fund community grant programs. Additional changes would include transference of marijuana regulation from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies. It would also require that within one year federal districts to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related arrests and convictions.

 

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