Employees of Tweed Marijuana Inc. prune dry marijuana buds before they are processed for shipping in Smith’s Falls, Ontario, Canada. Blair Gable/Reuters
• Students at Northern Michigan University can now major in medicinal plant chemistry.
• The school created the program in response to growing demand for trained analytical chemists in the marijuana industry.
• Students will not smoke marijuana as part of their coursework.
A small college in the Midwest has launched a program in of its chemistry department that gives new meaning to the phrase “higher education.”
Northern Michigan University is offering a medicinal plant chemistry program — effectively, a major in marijuana — that will prepare students for careers in the burgeoning marijuana industry. It’s the first degree of its kind at a four-year undergraduate college, CBS Detroit reports.
The school hopes to become a major pipeline for the legal marijuana business, which employs between 165,000 and 230,000 Americans — about as many people as there are dental hygenists working in the US.
“The need for this is so great. You go to some of these cannabis industry conferences and everyone is talking about how they need labs, they need labs,” Brandon Cangield, an associate chemistry professor at NMU, told CBS Detroit. “Or the bigger operations are trying to set up their own labs in house and they need trained analysts. And the skill set required to perform these analysis is perfectly matched with an undergraduate level education.”
A description of the medicinal plant chemistry program at Northern Michigan University appears on the school’s website. Northern Michigan University screenshot
Students will take classes in chemistry, plant biology, and business entrepreneurship, and complete a capstone research project involving “experimental horticulture” and “instrumental analysis of natural products,” according to the Northern Michigan University website.
There won’t be much