As with any professional industry, there are educational paths available for those who aspire to make a career within them. Today, the canna-business is rapidly becoming not only a ‘cool’ industry to be a part of but the earning potential is seemingly limitless. Entry level positions begin at a suggested US minimum wage of $15 an hour. However, much higher wages are reachable. This is especially for those willing to acquire the necessary knowledge to move forward amongst a rising influx of competition.
That said, a bachelor of science is now obtainable in the field of cannabis. Northern Michigan University now offers a ‘Medical Plant Chemistry Degree,’ which is a four-year program focusing on classes like organic chemistry, biochemistry, soil, genetics, financial management, and perspectives on society. NMU isn’t the first to offer courses in medicinal cannabis. Harvard, University of Denver, Vanderbilt University, Ohio State University and others offer limited classes on cannabis policy and legalities. Modern establishments such as Oaksterdam University, Humboldt Cannabis College, THC University, the Grow School, and Clover Leaf each offer various “cannabis certificates.” But what makes NMU unique is it is the first to have such a detailed and diverse learning culture built around cannabis. It is a mix of chemistry, biology, botany, horticulture, marketing and finance all into one four-year program!
The first semester for the program has just begun which currently has 12 students. The director of the university’s chemistry department, Mark Paulsen, is looking forward to many others to sign up for future classes. “We’re gaining students every week,” he said. “With a full 12 months of recruitment, we expect that to grow.” The idea for the program initially came from associate chemistry professor Brandon Canfield after his attendance at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in San Diego. “I heard all about the need for analytical chemists (in the cannabis industry) and all sorts of interesting talks. That was the initial spark,” he said.
One required course is appropriately titled ‘Chemistry 420.’ The class is an advanced analytical course covering various bioactive compounds and their plant origins, and metabolite chemistry. The syllabus includes the history of medicinal plant use and cannabis chemistry, as well as a lab where students perform plant tissue extraction for alkaloids and terpenoids. These studies focus on the purification procedures of different plants.
This type of degree program is timely for Michigan which recently legalized medical cannabis. This is also in addition to the 29 other US states that now allow either recreational and/or medicinal legalization. Hopefully, programs like these will continue to expand throughout many other colleges and universities. As the negative stigma attached to cannabis becomes more obsolete and its positive effects continue to grow through public exposure, the need for education and knowledge will continue to establish itself. We will see an increase of specialists and trained professionals in the medical cannabis industry as it grows. And with this new demand, the industry will continue to advance, professionally and culturally, as more people become involved.
By Tracy Jerome Chisley (@PoeticPanther)
Would you join a 4-year program to study cannabis? Leave us a comment below.
And for more articles like this, click HERE