Green gold rushes through the states and now into the campuses of a few select colleges and universities across the country. Legal cannabis and its non-THC containing relative (cannabis seeds) spread across our nation, and a growing number of colleges are adding cannabis and cannabis seeds to the curriculum to prepare their graduates for careers in cultivating, researching, analyzing and marketing the herb.
Expect high times ahead for all types of careers in the cannabis industry. Cannabis jobs are ranging from the dispensary and greenhouse operators to edibles developers, SEO specialists, marketing professionals, quality assurance managers, and pharmaceutical research development teams and executives.
Some colleges will focus on the laws around cannabis, some on the extraction and lab methods, and some will grow cannabis seeds to study cultivation.
CHRONIC R&D, which has a department specifically dedicated to focusing on cannabis industry trends and predictions, projects the industry will support 650,000 jobs by 2021.
And even in certain states where recreational cannabis use remains illegal, some universities have launched cannabis study programs in anticipation of cannabis legalization or to prepare graduates for jobs in other legal states.
A four-year degree is the closest thing to a cannabis major at an accredited university in the USA, has drawn nearly 400 students from over 45 states. Students won’t be growing cannabis, which was recently legalized by Michigan voters for recreational use. But students would learn to extract and measure the medicinal compounds from plants such as ginseng and transfer that knowledge to cannabis.
A similar program will begin at Minot State University in North Dakota this spring. The college said students would learn lab skills applicable to medical cannabis, hops, botanical supplements, and food science industries.
The anticipated boom in cannabis-related industry jobs has universities responding with a bunch of offerings. Colorado State University (CSU), offers a cannabis studies undergraduate focusing on social, legal, political and health impacts of cannabis and hemp. Harvard University, Ohio State University and the University of Denver (Colorado) offer classes on cannabis laws and policies.
Agricultural schools are also getting in on the action. The University of Connecticut is launching a cannabis horticulture program this spring.
“We’re following the market,” said Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, an assistant professor at the State University of New York at Morrisville, a college in rural central New York that’s launching a new minor in cannabis studies in its horticulture department this year. Students work with hemp and other plants rather than marijuana, but can take internships at medical marijuana facilities, Jenkins said.
In New Jersey, Stockton University started an interdisciplinary cannabis minor last fall and recently forged an academic partnership with Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia that gives students the opportunity for internships and research work in medical marijuana and hemp.
Marijuana businesses range from medical and recreational cannabis to foods, fabrics and tons of other products derived from industrial hemp. The basis for all is the cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis, produced by varieties of weed with high levels of THC, the chemical compound that makes people high. Hemp has only trace levels of THC but produces cannabidiol, or CBD, used in a broad range of nutritional and therapeutic products that are all the rage right now.
Cannabis is legal for medical purposes in 33 states and as a recreational drug in 10. While marijuana remains illegal federally, the 2018 Farm bill cleared the way for widespread cultivation of hemp. Where cannabis stands is still a fuzzy area. We hope to report more on the exact legalities surrounding cannabis seeds (from the Farm Bill) soon.
Until then, you can always visit this page for more info on cannabis seed laws in your state: Cannabis Seeds Laws – US States.
In New York, where legislators are moving to legalize recreational use of cannabis, hemp has become a new source of income for farmers as well as jobs at many businesses.