Let that sink in for a second: arch-conservative and self-proclaimed legalization opponent becomes industry spokesman for legal weed. Like most astute politicians, he’s just going where the polls are. Bloomberg reports on a Gallup survey that says 64% of Americans — a majority of Republicans and Democrats alike — support legalization. This is weed’s highest popularity rating since polling on the subject began. In 1969 — the year that 500,000 hippies and 32 bands spent a weekend smoking out Yasgur’s Farm near Woodstock, New York — only 12% of those surveyed supported legalization.
Legalize It or Criticize It
The biggest argument in favor of decriminalization is the array of potential medical benefits of marijuana therapy. According to WebMD, active chemicals in marijuana called cannabinoids are similar to chemicals occurring naturally in the body. These natural chemicals are connected to appetite, memory, movement, and pain. This is likely why marijuana therapy helps improve appetite and reduce nausea or vomiting in chemotherapy patients, suppresses the muscle spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, and helps individuals manage many day-to-day health challenges, including chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and a wide range of digestive issues. All of this amounts to a wide and expanding field of marijuana-based medical research, therapy, and treatment. Your degree in health care could provide a pathway to advancing opportunities for wellness through medical marijuana, whether as a nurse, a practicing physician, the administrator of a healthcare facility, or as a researcher.
So, what should you major be for a career in cannabis?
Oaksterdam University in California is another place to study for a career in the marijuana industry. The university advertises itself as America’s first cannabis college and offers certificate programs in subjects related to marijuana. Prospective students at the university can either opt for business- or horticulture-related subject certification. The business certificates cover regulatory and management aspects of marijuana, while the horticulture track deals with the intricacies of growing marijuana. The Cleveland School of Cannabis, which is located in Ohio, has a similar setup and offers certificate programs, as well as online courses via Zoom.
Northern Michigan University offers a degree program related to marijuana. According to the school’s website, there is a “major gap in educational opportunities available to prepare people for this field.” Students at the university can opt for the “Medicinal Plant Chemistry” undergraduate major, which has subjects that include the business and chemistry of marijuana. These subjects include organic chemistry, plant physiology, botany, accounting, genetics, physical geography, and financial management. At the end of the course, graduating students are ready for careers in marijuana research or to open their own marijuana-related business ventures.
The broad and continually evolving nature of the marijuana industry means that it is fertile ground for students from multiple subjects. To that extent, specialized degrees from other fields can also provide a foothold for growth in the industry.
Where Can You Learn About Marijuana?
The marijuana industry is becoming increasingly respectable and creating high-paying jobs in the process. Cannabis consultants, dispensary operators, cannabis extraction technicians, grow masters, and marijuana chefs all have the potential to earn significant amounts.
The marijuana industry’s exponential growth in the last several years created numerous opportunities in the mainstream economy. But kinks in the industry, including regulatory ones, are still being worked out. To that extent, it is still nascent and needs a professionally-trained workforce to firm up its contours. Currently, there are relatively few colleges or universities that train students in this field. Here is a brief primer on growth prospects for marijuana-related courses and colleges that offer them.
For example, a degree in horticulture makes professionals knowledgeable about marijuana cultivation. Similarly, a business degree can also prepare students for careers in the industry. Realizing the industry’s potential, even the prestigious Yale School of Management has jumped into the fray. In February of 2018, the Ivy League university’s business school held a conference to “discuss the opportunities and challenges of legal cannabis.”
Marijuana remains illegal or heavily controlled in some states, so check your local laws before investing in an education that you may not be able to use.