Careers Grind

These Universities Now Offer Classes in Cannabis

As of 2019, the legal cannabis industry has been responsible for creating an impressive 211,000 jobs in the United States. With Leafly reporting that the cannabis workforce increased 21 percent in 2017 alone, gaining another 44 percent in 2018, at least another 20 percent growth in jobs is expected by the end of 2019. That would represent a 110 percent growth in cannabis jobs in just three years.

Consequently, universities across the country are acknowledging the importance of tapping into the world of cannabis in a bid to prepare students for this developing and career-promising industry. 

Here is a list of the universities currently offering classes in cannabis:

University of California, Davis
UC Davis

Class: ‘Physiology of Cannabis’ 

Designed for students in the biological sciences, the three-unit undergraduate course covers the biology of cannabis and cannabinoids as well as their physiological effects in multiple systems, underlying mechanisms and therapeutic values. It also surveys the history of cannabis use, covers the endocannabinoid system and discusses potential medical targets for cannabis and their relative effectiveness. 

“This course is one of the few taught on an American college campus with a dedicated theme on the biology, physiology and medicinal effects of cannabis and cannabinoids,” said Yu-Fung Lin, an associate professor of physiology and membrane biology at UC Davis School of Medicine who is teaching the course. 

Lin, who also has a joint appointment in the Department Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, is preparing a similar course specifically for UC Davis medical students.

Cornell University
Cornell University

Class: Cannabis: Biology, Society and Industry

Cornell, one of the most recent universities to adopt a cannabis class, fully recognizes the potential this industry has, noting in their class description that the medical marijuana industry in the United States is estimated at $6.7 billion and is expected to grow to over $10 billion by 2021. 

Cornell students who enroll in this class will learn about the historical importance of cannabis in the development of medicines, textiles, paper, construction materials and foods, as well as cultural, religious and recreational uses. They’ll also learn about farming and cultivation and the challenges the cannabis industry faces as it evolves. 

Carlyn S. Buckler, an associate professor of practice with Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science, “created the course to help students garner more skills within the cannabis industry,” The Ithaca Times reported. Buckler tells The Ithaca Times:

“The potential profitability of this industry is clear, but the obstacles to its economic and industrial development are significant and include establishing better agricultural supply chains, breeding research to develop more vigorous and disease-resistant varieties, refining/improving farming practices, as well as policy and legal challenges associated with cannabis.”

Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Ohio State University

Class: Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

This class examines the social and historical backdrop of intoxicant prohibition, and assesses the legal reforms and political debates now surrounding the control and regulation of marijuana use. The professor Douglas A. Berman, a Harvard Law School graduate, is an avid speaker on cannabis legalization and reform. In an interview with the Cannabis Law Report, Berman expressed his standpoint on the topic of nationwide legalization.

“I’m inclined to predict that we’re going to continue to see an evolution in state laws that are more permissive of a range of marijuana use rather than sticking with traditional prohibition,” he said.

The University of Washington
University of Washington

Class: Medicinal Cannabis and Chronic Pain 

Developed specifically for health care professionals, this class presents current information and clinical practice guidelines on the use of medicinal cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain. The class is divided into two modules: “Medicinal Cannabis Education for Clinicians” and “Medicinal Cannabis – Best Practices.”

The goal of this program is to increase students awareness of options in treating pain and other medical conditions and to decrease unnecessary suffering among people living with chronic pain in the state of Washington. The project aims to provide information and education about medical conditions for those of which medicinal cannabis is or is not recommended, side effects and other risks.

Stockton University
Stockton University

Class: Cannabis Studies 

This interdisciplinary minor in Cannabis Studies offers students a foundation for understanding the burgeoning cannabis industry.

This minor arguably offers students the most in-depth insight and hands-on experience in the cannabis industry. Students will have to take classes focusing on issues such as the legal, social justice, health, financial and economic implications of legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Students will also study the history of marijuana legislation, and what business opportunities have developed or could develop in the future. Additionally, students are also required to secure an internship within the cannabis industry. 

“This is a growing industry, and we want to prepare our students from a variety of academic viewpoints,” program coordinator Ekaterina Sedia said. 

Entrepreneurs Grind

5 Pieces of Advice for People Trying to Get Into the Cannabis Industry

Kyle Sherman first experimented with cannabis through a personal journey. Living in Los Angeles at the time, his doctor recommended medical marijuana as a natural sleep aid and for anxiety relief. He was fascinated by the healing power of cannabis and headed to Colorado when it was announced they would be legalizing adult-use cannabis.

Through a variety of cannabis jobs, Kyle ended up working as a compliance officer and got really interested in the state’s track and trace system, Metrc, which was largely a manual tracking process at the time and posed a lot of challenges to such a fast-growing and promising industry. It was at this time that Kyle realized there was no way to report to the seed-to-sale tracking software Metrc through an API. His tech company, Flowhub was born.

With Flowhub, cannabis executives and store managers have visibility into store performance across multiple locations and granular control over employee permissions, products, suppliers, specials, reporting, tax calculations and more. Budtenders and sales associates benefit from reliable, user-friendly point of sale software with built-in compliance features such as a cannabis meter that automatically prevents sales from exceeding state transaction limits. The Flowhub platform is custom-built to give cannabis retailers the most intuitive, compliant and extensible solution to meet their unique business needs. With first-to-market mobile check-in and inventory management applications, Flowhub is empowering over 500 cannabis retailers to grow revenue, stay compliant and manage inventory to create a seamless experience for their customers.

As a legalization advocate and entrepreneur, Kyle’s goal is to grow a robust, scalable industry that is approachable for all adults and medical patients. He views medical cannabis as a human rights issue and wants to create an inclusive industry through hiring a diverse staff and working towards decriminalization. With news surrounding cannabis business at an ultimate high, we wanted to know what advice Kyle has for getting your foot in the door and succeeding in a rapidly changing market.

Identify and understand the real problems that are occurring and come up with new ideas to fix them.

Ideas that don’t have merit will not succeed in this business. Now that the cannabis industry is receiving tons of attention, everyone is trying to get something on the market. There’s a lot of repetition in ideas and the best ideas are ones that aren’t duplicated and can change the industry itself. The plus side of this industry being so new is that there’s a lot of room to advance it.

Find the funds.

Solve a problem for a few people first to show investors why your idea is worth investing in. Securing funding in this industry is not easy, which is why I suggest finding an idea that not only sets you aside from competitors but can advance the industry altogether.

Don’t just go to any VC.
Getty Images

I highly recommend going to a cannabis-specific VC. Spend time with VC’s that have already invested in the space or understand the industry’s problems. Otherwise, you risk wasting time pitching to groups who have restrictive LP agreements or who generally will be unable to invest in the space until post federal legalization. You may still want to pitch non-cannabis specific VC’s but it is important to qualify them first and make sure they would be able to write a check at the end of the day.

Don’t get involved unless you’re passionate.

One obstacle about the space is that it’s ever-changing. Cannabis is very different than any other industry you’ll ever work in because of all the rules and regulations constantly changing. The market is very divided, federal legality is restricting, and it’s extremely difficult to secure banking and fundraising. Each state has different laws in place regarding cannabis, making it hard to expand your market and hurdles are constantly thrown at you. Passion is the key to success in this game.

Don’t look at it as a capital opportunity.

Having a product or a company that does not have a moral goal in the works will make it hard to succeed. My goal with Flowhub is to build great software that will end societal issues from the effects of the war on drugs and also help sick people have access to cannabis. As someone working in this field, it’s important that I do my part in helping those on the other side of cannabis.

Extra Background:

Not only is Kyle leading one of the top software companies in cannabis, but he’s also a husband and father of three, associate producer of Weed The People documentary, a Business Insider ‘30 Under 30’, and a founding board director at Cannabis Trade Federation. He’s also listed as a Top 100 Cannabis Leader by Entrepreneur Magazine.