Looking to capitalize on the rising demand for cannabis, Northern Michigan University is offering a marijuana-focused degree — but stoners need not apply.
“Obviously, the program is new and different and it might speak to a certain crowd. But for a student to succeed, they’re going to have to be very dedicated and motivated,” Brandon Canfield, associate chemistry professor, told the Detroit Free Press of the medicinal plant chemistry Bachelor of Science degree.
“This is not an easy program. It’s a really intense, biology chemistry program,” Canfield added. He noted that while students won’t grow marijuana plants in the program, they do study similar plants with medicinal value.
The public university in the Great Lakes State launched the program for the fall 2017 semester, with about a dozen students currently enrolled. In addition to courses in chemistry, biology, botany and horticulture, students will also study marketing and finance, the paper reported.
“When they hear what my major is, there are a lot of people who say, ‘Wow, cool dude. You’re going to get a degree growing marijuana,'" said sophomore Alex Roth, a student of the program. “But it’s not an easy degree at all.”
While other colleges and universities offer classes or certificates in marijuana policy and law, Northern Michigan breaks ground to offer the first four-year degree dedicated to the science and business of growing marijuana.
Canfield was inspired to design the curriculum after attending the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting last year and hearing about the need for analytical chemists.
University officials believe that the program fills a growing need. To date, 29 states have legalized medical marijuana, including the eight states where marijuana is also permissible for recreational use, Fox 6 Now reports.
“Many of the states are legalizing different substances and they’re really looking for quality people to do the chemistry and the science,” university trustee James Haveman said to the Detroit Free Press. “And it’s the university’s responsibility to produce those kinds of students for those kinds of jobs.”
Evidently, Northern Michigan University’s chemistry department made a shrewd move in launching the program.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response from growing operations, dispensaries and other businesses who want to take on our students as interns,” Canfield said.