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Florida Gulf Coast University – Cannabis Studies @ The Integrated Studies Program.

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Florida Gulf Coast University has been teaching about cannabis to undergraduates for quite a while.

The Cannabis Studies options sit under the Integrated Studies Program. It all sits under the  Cannabis Research, Education and Workforce Initiative (CREW) with the intention of creating an academic home for the cannabis industry. whose mission it is to.

For the minor in cannabis studies, students take 4 core courses and then choose 6 other courses such as: Marijuana Law, The Horticulture and Botany of Cannabis, Drugs and Behavior, and Weed Culture. Interdisciplinary approach that includes law.

This degree covers the discipline of marijuana as a, discipline!  They also offer a Cannabis Professional Online Certificate Program that as an online 4 week online intensive introduction to the basics of cannabis, the plant and the industry.

The instructors are professionals and some come from a neuroscience background causing me to seriously think about taking the week on The Physiology, Pharmacology, and Therapeutic Uses of marijuana.



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adult-use cannabis

Best Cannabis Colleges | Cannabis Degrees, Courses, & Certifications

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According to The 2022 Leafly Jobs Report, the cannabis industry has created an average of 280 new jobs per day. That means new opportunities for growers, budtenders, sales reps, and everyone in between. 

Even the most experienced cannabis enthusiasts can get intimidated when figuring out what you need to know for a career in cannabis. Sure, understanding the difference from a gram to an eighth is important, but there are many more lessons before you’re ready to operate a legally compliant cannabis business. Cannabis companies across the country are eager for talent that can balance the basics of cannabis culture, business, and science.  

Thanks to this growing shift, universities, and colleges in the USA and Canada have been evolving their curriculum to include one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. From recent college graduates to experienced professionals, dedicated education can benefit those seeking to build a foundational cannabis knowledge base they can take into the workforce. 

Here’s a list of the best university-affiliated courses, degrees, and certifications we found for the canna-curious: 

Cannabis degrees

American International College

Cannabis Science and Commerce, MS

American International College’s Cannabis Science and Commerce offers a two-year master’s program. The Massachusetts-based school’s curriculum covers basic cannabis science, business, and government policies.

Type: Graduate

Beal University

Cannabis Business Administration, AAS
Cannabis Laboratory Sciences, AS
Medicinal Plant Sciences, BS

Beal University is staying true to its healthcare and business roots with three fully virtual cannabis degrees. Students can take one of two 20-month associate degree offerings: Cannabis Business Administration and Cannabis Laboratory Science, or a more detailed 34-month Bachelors in Medicinal Plant Sciences. 

Type: Undergraduate

City College of San Francisco

Cannabis Studies, AA

The City College of San Francisco sits in a true hub for cannabis culture: the Bay Area. It’s only right that they offer an Associate Arts degree taught by industry experts like Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey. This 5-semester degree program launched in Spring 2021 and features courses like Introduction to Cannabis Studies and Anthropology of Cannabis.

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Daniel A. Silver, J.D. 

Colorado State University-Pueblo

Cannabis Biology and Chemistry, BS
Cannabis Studies Minor

Colorado State University-Pueblo is offering all students an opportunity to attach the 22-credit Cannabis Studies Minor featuring classes in Psychology, Sociology, and Chemistry. For those with medical and sciences backgrounds, CSU-Pueblo allows for an immersive Bachelor of the Sciences in Cannabis Biology and Chemistry, preparing them for laboratory-based career paths within the cannabis industry. 

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Dr. David Lehmpuhl

Related

The leading universities and colleges with cannabis student organizations

Eastern Gateway Community College

Business Management Cannabis, AAB

Eastern Gateway Community College in Ohio has launched their Business Management Cannabis, a 62-credit Associate’s degree in Applied Business. This four-semester-long program can be completed within two years and features a wide array of cannabis courses to empower students in their post-grad employment journey. 

Type: Undergraduate

Community College of Denver

Cannabis Business, AAS
Cannabis Science and Operations BAS

The Community College of Denver is opening doors for local residents to gain the foundational education for cannabis management and business roles through both associate and bachelor’s degree programs. Their Cannabis Business program is an Associate of Applied Sciences degree that is a 50/50 in-class & online hybrid while the Cannabis Science and Operations Bachelor of Applied Science degree is “400 hours of hands-on experience in state-of-the-art instrumentation labs,” including an internship.

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: John Frost, Cannabis Business chair 

Johnson & Wales University

Cannabis Entrepreneurship B.S.

The Cannabis Entrepreneurship bachelor’s degree program at Johnson & Wales University is a four-year program that aims to develop industry leaders with a foundation in equitable business practices. Featuring courses like Introduction to Cannabis Entrepreneurship and Cannabis Law, JWU’s Providence, RI campus has established one of the leading entrepreneurship-based cannabis degrees on the East Coast. 

Type: Undergraduate

Kishwaukee College

Horticulture, AAS

Kishwaukee College is offering an Associate in Applied Science degree specializing in Horticulture. This Illinois-based college focuses on a truly holistic approach to trees and plants, and takes advantage of its affiliated greenhouse. Kishwaukee College does have a cannabis-specific certificate for those so inclined. 

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Prof. Richard Alde & Janet Gallagher

Lake Superior State University

B.S. Cannabis Chemistry

B.S. Cannabis Business

Michigan’s very own Lake Superior State University is home to two trailblazing undergraduate degrees. LSSU serves both scientific and entrepreneurial career paths with Prof. Koral Fritz leading the Cannabis Business program while Dr. Steven Johnson supports the Cannabis Chemistry program. Courses include Cannabis Law and Policy, Cannabis Separations Chemistry, and an authentic survey of a cannabis business. 

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Prof. Koral Fritz & Dr. Steven Johnson

LIM College

Business of Cannabis, BBA

Business of Cannabis, MPS

LIM College is a New York City-based school, but they also provide the option for remote learning. The Business of Cannabis is a four-year bachelor’s program that comes with required internships to ensure students get real experience before graduation. The alternative is LIM’s Master’s program in the Business of Cannabis. This is a 1-year fully online program that complements a wide range of undergraduate majors. 

Type: Undergraduate & Graduate

Instructor: Prof.Marianne Cursetjee & Michael P. Londrigan

Related

The top 25 universities and colleges leading cannabis research

Little Priest Tribal College

Cannabis Studies, AAS

Little Priest Tribal College is one of the first public tribal land-grant community colleges to expand its curriculum into cannabis. The Nebraska college offers an Associate’s in Applied Science in Cannabis studies that gives flexibility for those seeking jobs in either plant-touching or ancillary sectors.   

Type: Undergraduate

Medgar Evers College

Cannabis Studies Minor

Medgar Evers College’s Cannabis Studies Minor is home to the first cannabis degree in the CUNY (City College of New York) system. Medgar Evers is located in Brooklyn, New York, with HBCU (Historically black colleges and universities) status. 

Type: Undergraduate

Minot State University

Medicinal Plant Chemistry

For those interested in careers in extraction or quality assurance, look no further than the Medicinal Plant Chemistry degree from Minot State University to build a foundation of experience. The four-year program is offered on Minot State’s North Dakota campus.

Type: Undergraduate

Naugatuck Valley Community College

Horticulture, AS

Naugatuck Valley Community College provides students with an applied science degree in horticulture. NVCC makes history as the only community college in Connecticut to establish its own horticulture degree. A certificate in horticulture is also available for those interested in a quicker trajectory into the workforce.

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Prof. Christopher Tuccio

Niagara County Community College

Horticulture, AAS

Niagara County Community College, part of SUNY (State University of New York), has had its Horticulture program established since 1979. NCCC allows students to select from 9-15 credits of specific electives including Business of Cannabis, Medical Applications of Cannabis, and Cannabis Biology. As a bonus, these courses are still available thanks to NCCC’s Office of Work Development for non-credit.

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor:  Carolyn A. Stanko, CNLP

Northern Michigan University

Medicinal Plant Chemistry

In 2017, Northern Michigan University and associate professor of Chemistry, Brandon Canfield, officially launched its Medicinal Plant Chemistry degree as the country’s first four-year undergraduate program specifically dedicated to cannabis. Students within the program collaborate beyond the classroom in a Medicinal Plant Chemistry Club, their official student organization.

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor:  Brandon Canfield

Pacific College of Health and Science

Master of Science in Medical Cannabis Therapeutics (MS-MCT)

Pacific College of Health and Science has established its Master of Science in Medical Cannabis Therapeutics (MS-MCT) program for young professionals seeking a pathway to join the cannabis industry as healthcare providers. Students will learn about advanced cannabis topics including pharmacokinetics, physiological effects, and anatomical mechanisms. 

Type: Graduate

Instructor: Timothy Byars

cartoon image of man wearing graduation cap and smoking
As the industry continues to grow, so do the academic resources for learning the ins and outs of cannabis. (Courtesy jdoms/Adobe Stock)

Pennsylvania Institute of Technology

Cannabis Business, AS
Cannabis Health Therapy, AS

Cannabis Horticulture, AS

Cannabis Business, Cannabis Health Therapy, and Cannabis Horticulture are all associate-level programs offered by The Pennsylvania Institute of Technology. As part of the program’s curriculum, externship experiences may include trips to hydroponic grow facilities and extraction labs. PIT also offers its cannabis degrees online for remote instruction.

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Lou Giannotti RPH

Rowan University

Cannabis Commercialization Concentration

In 2022, Rowan University in New Jersey launched one of the USA’s first MBA programs in Cannabis Commercialization. To complete the concentration, MBA students must fulfill three cannabis courses in addition to their coursework. 

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Jenniifer Gilbert Jenkins and Kelly Hennigan

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale

Horticulture, BS

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has an established bachelor’s degree in Horticulture that can be taken in conjunction with the university’s Intensive Controlled-Environmental Plant and Production Certificate. The Cannabis Science Center at SIU-Carbondale is a key resource for Horticulture students to journey further into a cannabis-specific career path with an interdisciplinary collection of researchers in agricultural, analytical, biomedical, and community-based fields of study. 

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: John W Groninger, PhD

Southwestern Illinois College

Horticulture, AS

Southwestern Illinois College’s Horticulture program is a practical two-year associate’s degree for anyone looking to start their journey in cannabis education. Core courses include Horticulture Diagnostics and Greenhouse Management. There is an alternative for an abridged track with the Horticulture certificate. 

Type: Undergraduate

Stockton University

Cannabis Studies Minor

With adult-use sales opening in April 2022, it is only right for The Garden State (aka New Jersey) to have its own Minor in Cannabis Studies at Stockton University. Students can add this cannabis minor to their existing academic track to gain a unique skillset going into job interviews. 

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Dr. Ekaterina Sedia

SUNY Erie

Biotechnological Science Cannabis

SUNY Erie is home to the Biotechnological Science Cannabis Concentration, a specialized associates program for graduates seeking a career path as an industrial cannabis technician, quality inspector, or compliance manager.

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Jeanie Bryant and Dr. Jennifer Fendinger

SUNY Morrisville

Cannabis Studies Minor
Horticulture, AAS
Horticulture Business Management, B. Tech

SUNY Morrisville has one of the most diverse degree offerings with three levels of cannabis-related degrees. Not counting their certificate program, SUNY Morrisville offers a Cannabis Industry Minor, Associates in Horticulture, and a Bachelor’s of Tech in Horticulture Business Management.

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins and Kelly Hennigan

Thomas Jefferson University

MS in Medical Cannabis Science & Business

Thomas Jefferson University provides its MS in Medical Cannabis Science & Business as three separate certificates, but is only available to students who have completed a bachelor’s degree. TJU’s program is perfect for those eager to pursue a career in research or scientific applications. 

Type: Graduate

Instructor: Brooke Worster, MD

University of Colorado – Anschutz

Cannabis Science & Medicine, MS

A master’s degree in Cannabis Science and Medicine is available from the University of Colorado at Anschutz. This program is hosted by the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and does not require the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) to apply. 

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Dr. Jacci Bainbridge

University of Maryland – Baltimore

M.S. in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics

The University of Maryland-Baltimore’s degree is a two-year Master of Science and one of the first cannabis graduate programs in the country. This program is hosted by UMD’s School of Pharmacy. Online coursework is an option but students must visit the Universities of Shady Grove once per semester. 

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Dr. Leah Sera and Lisa Finn

Western Illinois University

Interdisciplinary Minor in Cannabis & Culture
Cannabis Production Minor

Western Illinois University offers a duo of minors in Cannabis & Culture and Cannabis Production. Cannabis Production focuses on biology-based studies while Cannabis & Culture takes more of an anthropological approach. These programs prepare students to seek cannabis industry roles within social work, licensed businesses, and public policy. 

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Dr. Sarah Haynes and Dr. Heather McIlvaine-Newsad

Writtle University College

Horticulture, BSc

Writtle University College is a UK-based university and home to a Horticulture program with ties to researchers supporting Jamaican cannabis studies. The Horticulture program follows a generalist approach to plants, soils, and climates that do not specialize in cannabis. 

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Jenniifer Gilbert Jenkins and Kelly Hennigan

York College of Pennsylvania

Cannabinoid Chemistry

Trained chemists are in high demand and at York College of Pennsylvania, interested students can gain a Bachelor of Science degree in Cannabinoid Chemistry. This is the first Cannabinoid Chemistry degree in both the state of Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic region.

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Jessica M. Fautch, PhD

Cannabis courses

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale

Special Topics in Paralegal Studies – Cannabis Law
Cannabis Biology, Industry, and Medicine

S. Illinois University at Carbondale has two specific cannabis courses for students to attend. The Special Topics in Paralegal Studies is limited to 30 students per class but is open to all students regardless of major. Students with a medical background can take the Cannabis Cannabis Biology, Industry, and Medicine course which is focused on empirical, scientific studies of cannabis including its history, production, sex determination, endocannabinoids, and sustainability.

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Daniel A. Silver, J.D

Southwestern Illinois College

Cannabis Industry and Law
Medical Cannabis Use & Research
Cannabis Operations

Southwestern Illinois College has three cannabis-specific courses: Cannabis Industry & Law, Medical Cannabis Use & Research, and Cannabis Industry Operations. Together these courses provide an interdisciplinary approach to education balancing cannabis policy, medical treatments, and knowledge of the industry supply chain. These 100-level courses are available to undergraduates each fall semester. Southwestern Illinois College also currently has an available Horticulture degree and certifications.  

Type: Undergraduate

Point of Contact: Col. Scott Abbott

University of Arizona

Inaugural Interdisciplinary Cannabis Symposium (IICS)

The University of Arizona has a free online recap of its project led by the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, the BIO5 Institute, College of Medicine Tucson, College of Science & CEAC. This initiative has multiple seminars centered on evidence-based research in cannabis horticulture and medicine that can be viewed and downloaded at your discretion.

Type: Undergraduate

IICS Organizer: Raphael Gruener, PhD

University of Connecticut

Online Horticulture of Cannabis
Introduction to the Horticulture of Cannabis
Advanced Cannabis Horticulture: Production and Industry

The University of Connecticut offers three different cannabis horticulture courses for beginners and advanced horticulturists with both courses also available virtually. From seed propagation to current research, students will gain the knowledge to become prime candidates for cannabis cultivation and crop management roles. 

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Dr. Gerald Berkowitz

University of Denver

Cannabis Journalism

Long-time cannabis journalist, Andrew Matranga, has paved the way for the University of Denver’s Cannabis Journalism course. In the heart of one of the original legal cannabis states, this course is designed to prepare students on how to effectively cover legalization efforts, industry trends, and more.

Students gain real-world experience by seeking quotes from cannabis operators, industry professionals, and private citizens to produce a portfolio of articles using narrative journalism and crafting pieces through the lens of Bruce Barcott’s Weed The People.

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Andrew Matranga

University of Maine

Introduction to Cannabis Cultivation and Science

The University of Maine offers its Introduction to Cannabis Cultivation and Science as a 1-credit course in its Spring semesters that allow students to get in-depth instruction on cannabis cultivation. Through this course, students are equipped for potential job opportunities in the cannabis field by learning about the history of cannabis, botany, production requirements, pest management, and even legal aspects of the industry. This 200-level course is an elective option for many of the university’s agriculture and horticulture-based degree programs. 

Type: Undergraduate

University of Nevada – Las Vegas

Cannabis Professional (Also available in Spanish)
Pets & Cannabis
Pulmonary Dynamics of Vaporizing vs. Smoking

Hosted by UNLV’s Educational Outreach program, there are three online courses available that students can complete on their own time. For those looking for a basic foundation to cannabis, the Cannabis Professionals course is a key opportunity to learn about cannabinoid science, the origins of the cannabis industry, and regulations. This course is one of few also available in Spanish as El Profesional de Cannabis.  For more advanced studies, UNLV offers Pets & Cannabis led by Dr. Tim Shu and RVT Kate Scott as well as Pulmonary Dynamics of Vaporizing vs. Smoking led by Jessica Streufert, a registered Respiratory Care Practitioner and a member of the American Cannabis Nurses Association.

Type: Undergraduate

Instructor: Trey Reckling, Dr. Tim Shu and RVT Kate Scott, Jessica Streufert

University of Vermont

Pharmacology 200: Cannabis Past, Present, and Future

The University of Vermont College of Medicine has made history by being one of the first medical schools in the US to offer a cannabis education course. This 3-credit course is available to graduate students and those in the Continuing Education program led by the Department of Pharmacology. Pharmacology 200 provides a scientific foundation for human physiology as well as therapeutic and pharmacological applications of the cannabis plant.

Type: Graduate

Instructors: Karen Lounsbury, Ph.D., Monique McHenry, Ph.D., Wolfgang Dostmann, PhD

University of Vermont

Community Medical School Archives

The University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine proves free access to a wide array of Community Medical School Archives including presentations, resources, and handouts from Spring 2017 – Fall 2019. Past lectures cover topics such as: Opioids, Cannabis, and Chronic Pain, Stem Cell Therapies, and How Cannabis Affects the Body & the Brain.

Type: Undergraduate

IICS Organizer: Pamela Swift, Ph.D., James Wolf, MD, Daniel J. Weiss, MD, Ph.D., David Warshaw, Ph.D., Jonathan Flyer, MD

Utah State University

The Science and Technology of Medical Cannabis Cultivation

The Science and Technology of Medical Cannabis Cultivation at Utah State University was a unique free course that was open to the general public and highlighted the way in which individuals can optimize cannabinoid content and yield within the plant by utilizing best practices from vegetation to flowering to harvesting. The course covered specific mechanisms such as nutrition, fertilizer, temperature, curing, and more. While registration for the courses ended on October 31, 2021, the university is continuing to accept email addresses for those interested in future opportunities.

Type: Graduate

Instructors: Bruce Bugbee, Mitchell Westmoreland, Royal Heins, Brian Corr

Vanderbilt University

Marijuana Law and Policy

Vanderbilt University’s Law School offers Marijuana Law and Policy, a graduate-level course,  led by Professor Robert Mikos, a leading expert on federalism and drug law. As the cannabis industry evolves, this course explores the unique political landscape as states transform from policies of complete prohibition to laws that experiment with regulating cannabis in the same manner as alcohol, tobacco, or even pharmaceuticals. 

Type: Graduate

Instructors: Robert Mikos

Cannabis certifications

Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences

Operations, Quality, and Edibles Certificate
Quality Assurance for Cannabis Certificate Program

Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences is a Canadian-based university that offers two cannabis certificates. The Operations, Quality, and Edibles Certificate covers growing, edibles, and seed-to-sale software. AAPS has also launched the Quality Assurance for Cannabis Certificate Program, a four-day training program that costs just over $3,000 .

Type: Undergraduate

Castleton University 

Cannabis Studies Certificate Program 

Castleton University in Vermont has introduced a flexible and easy-to-access, 12-credit certification course, titled Cannabis Studies Certification Program. It is a cross-disciplinary course focusing on varying aspects of cannabis such as economics, culture, and spirituality. This certificate program offers education and the opportunity to work in the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.

Type: Undergraduate

Central New Mexico Community College

Cannabis Establishment Technician Certificate (In partnership with SeedCrest)

In collaboration with SeedCrest, Central New Mexico Community College launched a 6-week-long Cannabis Establishment Technician certification course. The CET Workforce Certificate Program is an online course specially designed to cover laws and regulations in order to prepare more New Mexican residents for work at a dispensary or other various cannabis establishments.

Type: Undergraduate

Related

How to turn a degree into a cannabis career

Clark University

Regulatory Affairs for Cannabis Control

Clark University based in Massachusetts is proud to present the first-ever Regulatory Affairs for Cannabis Control Certification. The goal of the program is to empower future cannabis professionals with the skills and information needed to comprehend the effects of cannabis legalization in local communities and the United States at large. Whether graduates choose to serve the public at the municipal or state level, this graduate-level certificate program will greatly benefit them.

Type: Undergraduate

Coast Mountain College

Cannabis Cultivation Series

The Cannabis Cultivation Series taught at Coast Mountain College is a certification program that includes a series of five courses. Students have the flexibility to take one or all courses but are required to at least take the Cannabis Regulations and Licensing section as a prerequisite to the others. 

Type: Undergraduate

Dalhousie University

Cannabis Production and Management

Dalhousie University’s Cannabis Production and Management course is an online, non-credit certification course aimed to equip students with enhanced knowledge to help them understand the cannabis industry’s most important components such as harvesting, manufacturing, and waste management. The training has an open admission criteria meaning those without a college degree can still enroll. 

Type: Undergraduate

Doane University

Cannabis Science and Industries: Seeds to Needs

DoaneX / Free online courses ($0)

Doane University in Nebraska, is offering both a non-credited, online certification course in addition to free online courses via DoaneX. Doane University offers its Cannabis Science and Industries: Seeds to Needs for students who want a self-paced course that can be completed in three months or less.

Type: Undergraduate

Durham College

Cannabis Industry Specialization

The Cannabis Industry Specialization Course at Durham College is a collection of five micro-courses formulated to give the students a detailed insight into the Canadian cannabis industry. Key courses include Cannabis Law and Ethics and their Cannabis Business Operations series and will be best suited for students with foundational business knowledge. Durham College allows its certificate to be completed virtually. 

Type: Undergraduate

East Stroudsburg University

Medical Marijuana and Public Health

East Stroudsburg University based in Pennsylvania is now offering an online certification in Medical Marijuana and Public Health. This course is going to benefit students who want to study the cultivation, clinical impacts, and sale of cannabis products. ESU students will get the opportunity to support groundbreaking research initiatives with industry-leading professionals.

Type: Undergraduate

Excelsior College

Graduate Certificate in Cannabis Control

Excelsior College in New York offers a Graduate Certificate in Cannabis Control meaning students can enroll upon completing a bachelor’s degree. The course lasts 6 months and is taken fully online. Courses within the certificate include Risk Assessment in Cannabis Control and Implications of Legalization of Cannabis. 

Type: Graduate

Farmingdale State College

Cannabis Production and Management

Cannabis Production and Management at Farmingdale State College enables students to gain insights for a career path in cultivation or retail in addition to understanding the sociopolitical implications of cannabis. This online certificate requires students to complete 24 credit hours including more than five different courses. 

Type: Undergraduate

Florida Gulf Coast University

Cannabis Professional

Florida Gulf Coast University offers a Cannabis Professional Certificate, which is a 4-week long program. The course consists of four 1-week modules to be taken on a weekly basis. Course-takers have unlimited access to the module throughout the week and can work on this course at their preferred pace.The course enlightens students about cannabis production, its physiological effects, and business policies. 

Type: Undergraduate

Harper College

Cannabis Science and Therapeutics

Harper College’s Cannabis Science and Therapeutics certificate is a 17-credit-hour program. This Illinois college course is also directed toward helping students seeking the proper procedures in cannabis dispensary management and the applicable uses of cannabis medications. This certificate program provides a pathway to many career opportunities in the cannabis industry.

Type: Undergraduate

Illinois Valley Community College

Cannabis Production 

Illinois Valley Community College presents its 13-credit hour Cannabis Production certificate program. The course is divided into 2 semesters (five modules total) and highlights the technical aspects of cannabis production and management. By taking this course, students learn a detailed overview about cultivating cannabis and effective pest control. The course also includes an internship segment to support authentic workplace experiences.

Type: Undergraduate

Lackawanna College

Cannabis Professional

The certified program at Lackawanna College is a 13-credit-hour program. The Cannabis Professional certification program is made for future employees of the cannabis industry and can be taken by students as young as 18 years old. Students will get in-depth instruction on compliance, distillation, and marketing. 

Type: Undergraduate

Lehman College (CUNY)

Science of Cannabis

Science of Cannabis is a 3-course certification program by Lehman College, a City University of New York. This course gives the graduates detailed information about the therapeutic uses of cannabis in medical, educational, and public service sectors. Lehman College’s certificate program is in collaboration with Canadian institution, McMaster University.  

Type: Undergraduate

Long Beach City College

Introduction to the Cannabis Industry 

Long Beach City College’s eight-week-long Introduction to the Cannabis Industry course encompasses a holistic view of the supply-chain. The course is specifically designed for students to get a detailed understanding of California’s regulatory ecosystem as determined by the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the state’s cannabis regulatory agency. 

Type: Undergraduate

Loyalist College

Cannabis Applied Science

Loyalist College aims to help students develop their careers and progress in the cannabis industry. Their Cannabis Applied Science program is a one-year graduate certificate that helps students seek specialized technician and formulation chemist roles in cannabis.

Type: Graduate

Maryland University of Integrative Health

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Cannabis Science

The Maryland University of Integrative Health has established its Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Cannabis Science. Focusing on therapeutics, product design, and quality assurance, this certificate program is ideal for anyone looking to gain clinical perspectives on the endocannabinoid system. 

Type: Undergraduate

McMaster University

The Science of Cannabis

The growing legalization of cannabis has encouraged McMaster University in Ontario, Canada to announce a complete course on the Science of Cannabis. The McMaster Continuing Education team collaborated with two renowned institutes, the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research and the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research, to launch this certificate program.

Type: Undergraduate

Moraine Valley Community College

Cannabis Retail Specialist (CRESCO partnership)

In collaboration with CRESCO, Moraine Valley Community College is offering its Cannabis Retail Certificate. Candidates will learn all the necessary foundation to pursue a career as a Retail Specialist, Store Manager, or Budtender. Moraine Valley gives the option to take its 13-credit hour program for credit and non-credit and can be taken at the Palos Hills campus. 

Type: Undergraduate

Mount Royal University

Cannabis Education

Created in partnership with Mount Royal University’s Cannabis Industry Advisory Board, the Cannabis Education certificate program is dedicated to ensuring students join the workforce with knowledge that complies with Canada’s Cannabis Act regulations. Courses all focus on educating candidates about in-demand skills in the future of the cannabis industry.

Type: Undergraduate

Niagara College

Commercial Cannabis Production

Niagara College offers an extensive, 1-year-long certificate program called Commercial Cannabis Production. This 18-credit-hour certificate program is aimed at helping the students understand the complex science behind cannabis production. It also briefly covers a vast range of topics, including the history of cannabis, its development and approval as a medicinal drug, and business strategies for making a successful career in the cannabis industry, 

Type: Graduate

Niagara County Community College

Horticulture 

Niagara County Community College’s Horticulture certificate instills in students various management techniques and the latest horticulture research practices for a promising future ahead. The certificate coursework engages in professional real-world scenarios, externships, and networking opportunities that helps students strengthen their cannabis knowledge. 

Type: Undergraduate

Female scientist with a glasses testing cbd oil extracted from a marijuana plant on a watch glass. She is using a precise dropper and a watch glass for the experiment. Healthcare pharmacy concept.

Norquest College

Cannabis Trimming & Production: online course

With the evolution of the Health Canada Protocols, Norquest College has established its Cannabis Trimming and Production course to cover the fundamental knowledge of cannabis cultivation. From the history of prohibition to the medical wonders of hemp, the course elaborates on each topic students need to have a successful career in cannabis. The Norquest College course is available completely online.

Type: Undergraduate

Northern New Mexico College

Cannabis & Hemp Enterprises (CHE)

Northern New Mexico College’s Cannabis & Hemp Enterprises course is broken down into two modules that set the foundation of cannabis education and then empowers students to launch cannabis businesses. The primary topics included in the module are the history of cannabis, economics, and understanding of New Mexico’s CRA (New Mexico Cannabis Regulation Act). The second module contains the effective business and management strategies that will help students take on the challenges of the entrepreneurial market.

Type: Undergraduate

Oakton Community College

Cannabis Dispensary and Patient Care Specialist

The Cannabis Dispensary and Patient Care Specialist course from Oakton Community College helps students learn the required expertise to seek opportunities in a legal dispensary.  By the completion of the course, enrollees will be able to provide necessary education about the additional careers in the industry to various investing clients. This certificate course will help students meet Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulations (IDFPR) requirements to legally work.

Okanagan College

Cannabis Training

Okanagan College is offering valuable Cannabis Training courses that will help students thrive in the legal cannabis industry. The Canadian college provides courses in cannabis botany, legislation, and DIY cannabis growing techniques. 

Olds College

Extraction and Purification for the Cannabis/Hemp Industry
Cannabis Production Program – Level 1
Introduction to Quality Assurance in the Cannabis Industry

Olds College in Alberta, Canada has a portfolio of cannabis certificates that can prepare the next generation of industry workforce. Extraction and Purification of Cannabis, Cannabis Production, and Introduction to Quality Assurance in the Cannabis Industry are all available courses in Olds College’s Continuing Education program. For their Cannabis Production program, students gain the opportunity to visit on-site with a licensed cannabis producer.

Pacific College of Health and Science

Medical Cannabis

Pacific College of Health and Science offers an exclusive Medical Cannabis Certificate that helps the students establish a career path in cannabis. The fully online certificate program has three courses, eight college credits, and can be achieved in as quickly as six months. The certification provides students with advanced knowledge of the clinical use of cannabis.

Type: Undergraduate

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Cannabis business models 101

Quinebaug Valley Community College

Cannabis Studies

Quinebaug Valley Community College’s 18-credit Cannabis Studies Certificate is aimed at helping eager young professionals enter the cannabis industry. Course topics cover cannabinoid extraction processes, farming economics and government regulations. With Connecticut’s adult-use market launching, this is a useful certificate program for locals to gain an advantage in finding a role within the state. 

Type: Undergraduate

Rider University

Cannabis Studies

The Cannabis Studies Certificate at Rider University is a 100% online program with only four 1.5 credit courses. This certificate provides the education required to excel in the complex field of cannabis without the prerequisite of a  bachelor’s degree. The certification has semester openings until Summer 2024. Students are given the chance to work and be taught by industry professionals. 

Type: Undergraduate

Rowan University

Cannabis Commercialization Certificate of Graduate Study

Cannabinoid Chemistry – Certificate of Undergraduate Study

Rowan University in New Jersey is home to two cannabis certificate programs: Cannabis Commercialization and Cannabinoid Chemistry, The Cannabis Commercialization certificate is a graduate-level program for those looking for an abridged version of their Master’s program. The Cannabinoid Chemistry certificate is available for undergraduates interested in careers in health and pharmacology.

Type: Undergraduate & Graduate

Saint Louis University

Cannabis Science and Operations

Saint Louis University in Missouri is offering its Cannabis Science and Operations Certificate, which primarily focuses on scientific and operational aspects of the cannabis industry. Basic techniques for hemp production, growth, and cultivation processes will be taught. While a bachelor’s degree is not required, the application requires at least three years of work experience.  

Type: Undergraduate

Related

Exit-Now offers cannabis scholarship and expungement resources in Saint Louis, MO

Scottsdale Community College

Cannabis Industry Education

The MITA (Marijuana Industry Trade Association) partnered with the Business School at Scottsdale Community College to launch their 8-week online Cannabis Industry Education. The course outline is designed to accommodate students across the country on entrepreneurial and workforce scenarios.  

Type: Undergraduate

Seneca College

Cannabis Industry Studies

Seneca College’s Cannabis Industry Studies certificate is primarily designed for candidates interested in a well-rounded overview of the cannabis market. Candidates will have a sound knowledge of marketing, biotechnological product development, and the Canadian regulatory system related to cannabis.

Type: Undergraduate

South Suburban College

Cannabis Dispensary Operations

The Cannabis Dispensary Operations by South Suburban College will help candidates boost the start of their careers in the cannabis retail sector. Upon completion, students will have a comprehensive understanding of the scientific effects of cannabis to better service customers and patients seeking quality products.  

Type: Undergraduate

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale

Intensive Controlled-Environmental Plant and Production

The Intensive Controlled-Environmental Plant and Production certification course by Southern Illinois University – Carbondale is a fully online course highlighting and explaining crop production methodologies. This 30-credit certificate includes a variety of lessons that teach students the problem-solving and production skills necessary for intensive high-value crop production systems.

Type: Undergraduate

Southwestern Illinois College

Horticulture
Cannabis Industry Operations

Southwestern Illinois College offers both Horticulture and Cannabis Industry Operations certificates. These certificates are game-changers for students interested in a fast-track into the cannabis workforce. 

Type: Undergraduate

Stautzenberger College

Cannabis Dispensary Administration

Stautzenberger College provides a 100% online course titled the Cannabis Dispensary Administration Diploma Program. Students will learn how to utilize point-of-sale systems and connect patients and customers with cannabis products that match their health needs. 

Type: Undergraduate

Stockton University

Cannabis Studies

Stockton University in New Jersey has officially established six courses for their Cannabis Studies Certificate for just under $2,000. This certificate is a virtual program that equips the students with fundamental and technical cannabis knowledge. The newest courses include Risk Management and Insurance for Cannabis Businesses and Social Justice and Cannabis. 

Type: Undergraduate

Sullivan University

Cannabusiness

Sullivan University’s Cannabusiness Studies Certificate  is designed for a 9-month term that prepares enrollees for entry-level cannabis roles. Students will gain education in business logistics, management, and have a full command of cannabis market economics.

Type: Undergraduate

SUNY Fulton-Montgomery Community College

Cannabis Laboratory Technician
Cultivation Technician

Fulton-Montgomery Community College is a SUNY (State University of New York) that has established Cannabis Laboratory Technician and Cannabis Cultivation Technician certifications.  guides students with the best cultivation techniques. These certifications were developed in partnership with Vireo Health and Goodness Growth Holdings to provide on-site training. 

Type: Undergraduate

SUNY Morrisville

Specialty Crops & Cannabis Production

SUNY Morrisville offers its Specialty Crops & Cannabis Production certificate. Students can expect to get hands-on experience studying on the university’s certified organic farm and Cannabis Research Plot

Type: Undergraduate

Thomas Jefferson University

Cannabis Science

Cannabis Business

Cannabis Medicine

Thomas Jefferson University offers three certificate programs relating to the cannabis industry. The university offers Cannabis Science and Cannabis Medicine certificates in collaboration with the Center for Forensic Science Research & Education (CFSRE).Their certificate in Cannabis Business helps students evaluate the business issues within the industry and can be applied to TJU’s Medical Cannabis Science and Business Master’s program. 

Type: Undergraduate

Three Rivers Community College

Introduction to Medical Cannabis

The Introduction to Medical Cannabis certificate at the Three Rivers Community College in Connecticut provides students the foundational education to pursue a cannabis health profession. The certificate equips students with knowledge about the medical uses of cannabis, its chemical composition as a drug, and its effects on the human mind and body.

Type: Undergraduate

Triton College

Cannabis: Dispensary Technician (CE)

Dispensary technicians are an integral part of cannabis dispensaries. They carry out many laboratory operations on a routine basis. This course is designed for individuals who want to indulge in the cannabis industry as a Cannabis Dispensary Technician. The curriculum of this course includes history, policy, and laws related to cannabis. Students also learn best practices in cannabis dispensary operations and cannabis therapeutics.

Type: Undergraduate

Union Institute and University

Cannabis Studies ($5520)

The Cannabis Studies certification course at Union Institute and University consists of a total of 12 credits. This course enables the students to develop a multi-disciplinary expertise on cannabis related topics. Students can complete the whole course in just eight months and begin with start dates scheduled throughout the year. 

Type: Graduate

University of Cincinnati

Cannabis Studies

The University of Cincinnati has designed a cannabis certification program for emerging talents to lead this cannabis industry. Hosted by UC’s School of Planning the Cannabis Studies certification allows students familiar with the best cannabis production and management strategies.

Type: Undergraduate

University of Colorado – Boulder

Medical Cannabis: The Health Effects of THC and CBD Specialization

The University of Colorado at Boulder offers a unique Medical Cannabis: The Health Effects of THC and CBD Specialization certification available via Coursera. This specialized course addresses both cannabis and hemp-derived CBD for an in-depth cannabinoid education. Students will learn basic pharmacology, barriers to cannabis research, and key terminology. 

Type: Undergraduate

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Cannabis Production and Management

No degree is required to the University of Illinois’ Cannabis Production and Management Certificate. The four-course program is 100% online and provides the basics lessons of cannabis biology and classifications.  

Type: Undergraduate

University of Rhode Island

Cannabis Studies Certificate

The University of Rhode Island’s College of Pharmacy has launched their Cannabis Studies Certificate as a fully virtual program. This program lays the foundation for undergraduates to get through the biomedical sciences, analysis, and formulating techniques of cannabis. It should be noted this certificate does not speak to growing or cultivation. 

Type: Undergraduate

University of San Diego

Cannabis Healthcare and Medicine
Cannabis Law and Policy Certificate

The University of San Diego brings two courses related to cannabis, a Cannabis Healthcare and Medicine certificate and a Cannabis Law and Policy certificate. These courses last for 6 months and give the students detailed information about the use of CBD drugs and the rules about cannabis medicines and goods.

Type: Undergraduate

University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

Business of Medical Marijuana and the Cannabis Industry – Graduate Certificate

University of the Sciences in Philadelphia is home to its Business of Medical Marijuana and the Cannabis Industry certificate. From regulation to taxation, students will be exposed to high-level information in a series of four three-credit courses including Supply Chain Management in the Cannabis Industry and Cannabis Marketing and Sales.

University of Toledo

Online Cannabis Management

The University of Toledo offers its Online Cannabis Management certificate. The Ohio-based university provides a flexible curriculum, ensuring it can be studied without having to compromise on other responsibilities. This certificate program is in collaboration with the University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and College of Business. 

Type: Undergraduate

University of Vermont

Cannabis Science and Medicine

Cannabis Plant Biology

The University of Vermont is the first medical school in the nation to provide a professional certificate in cannabis and medicine. UVM offers two fully online, professional certificates in Cannabis Science and Medicine and Cannabis Plant Biology. Led by the Larner College of Medicine and School of Agriculture & Life Sciences, each certificate is a graduate-level program and will prepare students to excel in the cannabis workforce.

Type: Graduate

Online cannabis courses and university certificates

Leading cannabis education platforms like Green Flower and the Academy of Science have partnered with many universities to offer their curated online cannabis courses. Prices and course availability varies with each university.

Green Flower:

Online Cannabis Education:

Academy of Cannabis Science:

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Nadir Pearson

Nadir is a dynamic cannabis leader and entrepreneur from the East Coast He is the founder of SMART (Student Marijuana Alliance for Research & Transparency) a national college cannabis organization and co-founder of Hybrid Co. Nadir also serves as a project lead for Cannaclusive.

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All about Cannabis

Cannabis & Hospitalization

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Cannabis and hospitalization go hand-in-hand, according to a new study. Cannabis consumers are 22 percent more likely to visit emergency rooms and require hospitalizations. Led by researchers at Unity Health Toronto, they surveyed 4,800 cannabis users over 12 months. They compared the data with 10,000 people who had never used cannabis.

Despite the observational nature of the study, the lead author of the study, Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, told CTV that:

“Our analyses are adjusted and controlled for all of these other factors, making it less likely that the other factors explain the positive emergency department visit and hospitalization finding.”

Observational vs. Experimental Research 

Among the reasons for hospitalizations or ER visits, cannabis users reported acute trauma (15%) as the most common cause. Followed by respiratory problems (14%) and gastrointestinal issues (13%).

But the study was observational and therefore unable to say that cannabis use causes higher hospitalization rates. This was a correlational study. Despite the lead researcher’s claim, this study did not test a specific intervention against a control group. All they did was look at the data on particular groups and then form a conclusion.

Observational research can give us insight into what types of connections exist between lifestyle and risks of a specific disease. But all they can do is show correlation. Even the researchers admitted as much, given their small sample size. They said further research is needed to confirm the “possible link between all-cause mortality and respiratory illness.” 

Cannabis & Hospitalization Study Bias 

Cannabis & Hospitalization

Because this was an observational study with no control group, the claim that the study controlled for other factors of hospitalization, like alcohol use, opioid use, prescription drug use, underlying mental health or medical conditions, is patently false. 

The study did not compare rates of ER visits and hospitalizations among cannabis consumers to rates among users of alcohol, opioids, prescription drugs, or other substances. The lead researcher, Dr. Vozoris, said he’s unaware of existing research comparing these rates.

Vozoris hopes this study will inform the public that cannabis is not risk-free. But what exactly has this study proven, if anything at all? 

The Problem with the Cannabis & Hospitalization Study 

Dr. John Ioannidis, a professor at Stanford University, criticizes observational study research. In his paper, “Why Most Published Research Findings are False,” he explains that “research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”

And that seems to be the case here.

There’s nothing in this study to indicate why cannabis users would have higher rates of hospitalization and ER visits.

Suppose there are factors the researchers haven’t considered. The only way to truly determine a cause between two variables is to do an experimental study like a randomized control trial. Plenty of observational studies can confirm that cannabis users have higher hospitalization rates. But, without randomized control trials, this correlation tells us nothing.

It’s like the correlation between Nicolas Cage movies and swimming pool drownings. No serious researcher would publish a paper highlighting this correlation, concluding that more observational research was needed, and then remind people that “Nicolas Cage movies aren’t risk-free.”

That’s essentially what has happened here. 

That’s why studies like this always call for “further research.” All they have to do is claim a possible connection between cannabis and hospitalization. But with observational research, it is impossible to say x causes y. If anything, “further research” will increase the number of studies claiming a relationship between cannabis and hospitalization, muddying the waters for researchers doing real science.





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Education

Article: General Counsel’s Corner: Cannabis and the Campus

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AUTHORS

Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC

 

Cannabis—also known as marijuana—has been legalized in the last two decades in more than half of the states. Thirty-nine states allow the use of medical marijuana, while 18 states and the District of Columbia permit both medical and recreational marijuana.1 Despite what would appear to be increasingly lawful access to cannabis, it is still classified by U.S. law as a Schedule I Controlled Substance,2 which means that its possession, sale or use is prohibited by federal law, even in those states whose laws have decriminalized the use of cannabis. Furthermore, colleges and universities are subject to stricter federal restrictions than other organizations, in that cannabis cannot be grown, possessed or used on campuses if the institution receives federal funds.3

Federal Laws Restricting Controlled Substances on Campus

The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (the Act) is the main body of law governing the use of controlled substances on college campuses.4 In response to President George H.W. Bush’s national drug control strategy, Congress passed legislation to require schools, colleges and universities to implement and enforce drug and alcohol prevention programs and policies as a condition of eligibility to receive federal funds and assistance. The specifics of the Act are articulated through the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) at Part 86, i.e., the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Regulations (the Regulations), which are highlighted below.

Regulation Requirements

EDGAR at Part 86 requires that Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) receiving federal funds or financial assistance must develop and implement a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees.5 Some of the requirements of this program involve the annual reporting of: standards of conduct; a description of sanctions for violating federal, state and local law and campus policy; a description of the health risks associated with Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) use; a description of treatment options; and a biennial review of the program’s effectiveness and the consistency of the enforcement of sanctions.6

Appendix A to the announcement of the Regulations describes the controlled substances covered by this Act. Included on the list of substances are methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, PCP, LSD, fentanyl, fentanyl analogue and marijuana. The major category of marijuana is broken down further to include hashish and hashish oil in varying quantities.7

IHEs are required to certify that they have an AOD prevention program in order to remain eligible for certain forms of federal funding and assistance. This certification is included commonly in the “Representations and Certifications” section of an application or proposal.8

There also exist certain requirements to demonstrate compliance with the Regulations. On request, IHEs must provide a copy of their biennial report to the U.S. Department of Education or its representative. The Secretary of Education, or their designee, may review the report and supporting documentation as necessary and, where an IHE is noncompliant, may take action ranging from providing technical assistance to help the campus come into compliance to terminating all forms of federal financial assistance. IHEs may also be subject to related requirements under state and federal law and judicial rulings.9

Certification Requirements

The EDGAR regulations require that, as a condition of receiving funds or any other form of financial assistance under any federal program, an IHE must certify that it has adopted and implemented a program “to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees” both on the institution’s premises and as part of any of its activities. When applying for federal assistance, IHEs certify to the existence of such programs, typically as part of a standard grant or contract application under the provisions referred to as Representations and Certifications.

Additionally, the Regulations indicate that IHEs must retain all records related to the Act for three years.

Annual Notification

To remain in compliance with the Act and its Regulations, IHEs must provide an annual notification to students and employees of certain information related to the Act. This notification must include: (1) standards of conduct; (2) possible legal sanctions and penalties; (3) statements of the health risk associated with AOD abuse; (4) the IHE’s AOD programs available to students, staff and faculty; and (5) disciplinary sanctions for violations of the standards of conduct. The notification must be in writing and in a manner that ensures all students and employees receive it.10

Biennial Review

The Biennial review must comply with content standards articulated by the Regulations. To comply with the regulations, every two years an IHE must conduct a review of its AOD program to determine effectiveness and consistency of sanction enforcement, in order to identify and implement any necessary changes. The regulations do not specify how IHEs must conduct their reviews or how they should structure their reports. IHEs are therefore left with discretion to conduct their reviews in ways that best meet the needs and circumstances of their campus.11

Successful reviews have included program inventories, policy inventories and enforcement analyses. Their reports have included supporting documentation for each of these categories, such as descriptions or copies of the programs and policies, procedures for annual notifications and descriptions of and supporting documentation for the means of assessing program effectiveness and enforcement consistency.12

Cannabis and Curriculum

A quick web search revealed more than a dozen U.S. colleges and universities that offer various academic degrees and/or certificates related to cannabis. Some, such as Colorado State University-Pueblo, offer undergraduate degrees in the science of cannabis.13 These programs require students to take courses in the biology and chemistry of cannabis (and other medicinal plants as well), and appear to be focused on preparing students for careers in cannabis research, such as research on appropriate soil chemistry for the growth of cannabis, the effects of pesticides and related plant chemistry. Because of the federal prohibitions described above, these institutions, which receive federal funds, are not able to use cannabis or other plants with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level above 0.3% in their academic programs unless they have a special federal license to conduct research on cannabis and the program complies with the research regulations. Hemp, which also contains THC but at lower levels, was previously included on the list of controlled substances. In December, 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the “Farm Bill,” was passed by Congress.14 The Farm Bill removed low-THC hemp, which contains 0.3% or less THC, from the list of controlled substances. This change enabled colleges and universities to use hemp, rather than higher-THC marijuana, for research and educational purposes, without the restrictions surrounding the use of marijuana. Colleges offering these programs would also be required to comply with any state laws regulating the use of hemp.

Other institutions, such as Lake Superior State University in Michigan, offer undergraduate and associate degrees and certificates in the business of cannabis15 as well as cannabis chemistry. The schools explain that these programs prepare students to work in laboratories, in product development and the medicinal uses of cannabis, as well as on the management side of the cannabis industry. Still other institutions, such as Western Illinois University,16 offer minors in cannabis-related subjects, such as cannabis business or cannabis production. And finally, universities such as the University of Maryland offer master’s degrees in Medical Cannabis Science & Therapeutics,17 offered through the University’s School of Pharmacy.

Even more institutions offer certificates related to either the business or the science of the cannabis industry. Those that do not receive federal funds are not subject to the higher education-focused federal laws that prohibit colleges and universities from allowing Schedule I Controlled Substances on campus but are subject to other federal laws and state regulation. One example of such an institution is Oaksterdam University,18 located in Oakland California, which offers eight-week certificate courses for cannabis horticulture or business, as well as “Home Grow” instruction.

For those institutions that receive federal funds, curriculum planning will need to be done carefully for several reasons. First, risk assessment is critical in order to ensure that the program does not stray across the legal boundaries that are still very much present. Second, truth-in-advertising is important, particularly with respect to the current inability of federal fund recipients to promise students that they will be working with real marijuana, rather than lower-THC hemp or with marijuana that is of lesser strength than medical-quality marijuana or marijuana that recreational users could access. This is of particular importance in programs where students will be studying the therapeutic uses of THC, whether found in hemp (at low levels) or in the higher THC-level marijuana. And thirdly, current federal prohibitions on marijuana sale and possession have persuaded many banks to refuse to do business with the marijuana industry over concerns about potential liability for money-laundering.19 This and other legal complexities must be addressed in those programs that aim to prepare students to work in the business of cannabis production and sales.

Job Postings and Internships

Given the federal law restrictions discussed above, colleges and universities that receive federal funds will need to consider carefully their policies with respect to accepting internship or job postings from cannabis-related employers. Even in states where the production and sale of cannabis is legal, federal law forbids it, and prohibits recipients of federal funds from being involved in activities related to “illicit drugs.” This situation would seem to apply to institutions’ acceptance of job postings targeted at students, as well as internships, whether or not for pay, and particularly if the internship carries college credit. In our judgment, the safest approach is to refuse to accept job or internship postings from cannabis-related employers that are involved in the production or sale of cannabis-related products. See, for example, the Career Services Policy at Colorado State University.20

Implications for Counsel

Unless the federal government reduces or removes its restrictions on cannabis—either by removing it from the list of Schedule I Controlled Substances or amending the federal laws prohibiting its presence on campus, counsel will need to be vigilant with respect to pressures—from marijuana producers and suppliers, faculty who wish to conduct scientific research on the uses and health effects of marijuana21 and students who are eager to participate in the increasingly lucrative cannabis industry. One source estimates that global cannabis sales will reach $33.6 billion by 2025,22 which is a powerful incentive for entry into this growing industry. It appears that the Food and Drug Administration may be approving additional producers of marijuana suitable for scientific and medical research,23 but there seems to be little interest presently at the federal level for removing cannabis from its current restrictions. Counsel will need to monitor political developments in their states and at the federal level, as well as keeping a sharp eye on internal initiatives to link the institution to this rapidly expanding and highly regulated industry.

Given the clash between federal prohibitions and the permissiveness of many state laws, counsel will need to work with those individuals involved in cannabis-related curriculum development to ensure that the institution’s federal funding is not at risk, that the developers of courses and programs are knowledgeable and thoughtful about program design, and that students understand the limitations currently facing program content.


General Counsel’s Corner is a publication presented by one of Bond’s former general counsels and academic administrators of higher education institutions: Monica Barrett (Rutgers); Sandra Casey (SUNY and Siena College); Shelley Sanders Kehl (Pratt Institute); Barbara Lee (SVP for Academic Affairs at Rutgers); Sarah Luke (Governors State University); Gail Norris (University of Rochester); and Jane Sovern (CUNY). In each issue, a different attorney from this team will share with you recent legal developments, tips, strategies and useful information to assist you with your daily work on campus.

This post is brought to you by Barbara A. Lee, Ph.D. in our New York City office and Catherine A. Graziose in our Albany office. Barbara previously served as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Rutgers University where she continues on as a Distinguished Professor of Human Resource Management. She is a former director for the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), and a prolific author, speaker and editor. Barbara is also the former chair of the New Jersey Bar Association’s Higher Education Committee. Catherine is a higher education attorney in Bond’s Albany office and assisted in co-authoring this article.


1  https://mjbizdaily.com/map-of-us-marijuana-legalization-by-state/
2  21 U.S.C. §812.
3  Additionally, all persons entering in or on Federal property, recipients of federal funds administered by the U.S. Department of Education, and Federal Contractors at their workplace are prohibited from use or possession Schedule 1 controlled substances. See 41 CFR § 102-74.400; 48 CFR § 52.223-6; 34 CFR § 86.2.
4  Public Law 101-226
5  https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/sites/default/files/hec/product/dfscr.pdf
6  https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/sites/default/files/hec/product/dfscr.pdf
7  https://archives.federalregister.gov/issue_slice/1990/8/16/33574-33601.pdf#page=8
8  https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/sites/default/files/hec/product/dfscr.pdf
9  https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/sites/default/files/hec/product/dfscr.pdf
10  https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/sites/default/files/hec/product/dfscr.pdf
11  https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/sites/default/files/hec/product/dfscr.pdf
12  https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/sites/default/files/hec/product/dfscr.pdf
13  https://www.csupueblo.edu/cannabis-biology-and-chemistry-bs/index.html
14  Public Law 115-334 §§ 10113, 12619
15  https://www.lssu.edu/college-innovation-solutions/lukenda-school-of-business/cannabis-business/
16  http://www.wiu.edu/cbt/agriculture/cannabis_production.php
17  https://www.pharmacy.umaryland.edu/academics/ms-medical-cannabis-science-and-therapeutics/
18  https://oaksterdamuniversity.com/product/horticulture-semester-fast-track/
19  https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-pot-sellers-stash-cash-banks-leave-them-high-dry-2021-05-24/#:~:text=Marijuana%20can%20be%20sold%20legally,afoul%20of%20money%20laundering%20laws. See also https://www.aba.com/advocacy/our-issues/cannabis
20  https://career.colostate.edu/csu-recruiting-eligibility-requirements/
21  Legal restrictions on campus-based research involving cannabis will be addressed in a future General Counsel’s Corner article.
22  https://www.investopedia.com/biggest-challenges-for-the-cannabis-industry-in-2019-4583874#:~:text=The%20legalization%20and%20sale%20of,to%20%2433.6%20billion%20by%202025.
23  https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drugreg/marijuana.htm



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