North Americans are more curious than ever about cannabis; this much is clear.
As the continent’s marijuana movement gains further traction and the demand for relevant information only continues to bloom, a growing number of institutions are offering their own takes on cannabis-focused programming.
None of them have been quite like the new ‘Medicinal Plant Chemistry’ at Northern Michigan University, however.
The school in Marquette, MI is offering the first-ever undergraduate degree focused on cannabis studies. The four-year program will combine chemistry, biology, botany, horticulture, marketing, and finance classes.
Of course, students of the program won’t actually use or cultivate cannabis – but they will be able to choose between entrepreneurial and bio-analytical concentrations, depending on whether they wish to focus on the science or the business side of the plant.
Brandon Canfield, an associate professor in the school’s chemistry department, helped design the new program. He says it’s the first of its kind when it comes to a “traditional undergraduate degree” focused on cannabis.
“The timing [for this program] seems right in the sense that the cannabis industry is exploding and, at the same time, there are no formal educational programs dedicated to it,” Canfield tells Civilized.
While acknowledging the essential role “your Oaksterdams and your Cannabis Colleges” have played in terms of educating the canna-curious over the last few years, Canfield says a more robust cannabis program like NMU’s was a long time coming.
“Those other programs were ground-breaking, and we certainly looked at them when we were putting our program together, but… those are pretty short, targeted programs and there was really nothing focused more on the traditional student,” says Canfield, adding that the closest thing out there to what NMU is offering would be the recently launched one-year cannabis production program at Ontario’s Niagara College.
“Our students are going