With 64 percent of Americans in favor of legalized marijuana, and more and more states making recreational use of weed available without legal recourse, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people would want to study everything about marijuana. Well, good news: The University of Northern Michigan wants to help facilitate the fascination with a degree in the science and business behind marijuana.
While other schools, like Harvard and Yale, offer courses about the legality of marijuana sales, this degree program focuses on organic chemistry, biochemistry, soils, biology, gas and liquid chromatography, biostatistics, genetics, accounting, financial management, and perspectives on society — essentially a how-to from seed to store for Michiganders looking to get into the ready-to-burst legal weed scene in the state.
In states like California and Colorado, there are horticultural schools that offer lessons on proper care for marijuana plants, but nothing that combines science, horticulture, and social studies.
“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,’” student Alex Roth told The Detroit Free Press. “But it’s not an easy degree at all.”
The program has the full support of the school’s board of trustees too. “Many of the states are legalizing different substances and they’re really looking for quality people to do the chemistry and the science,” said NMU trustee James Haveman. “And it’s the university’s responsibility to produce those kinds of students for those kinds of jobs.”
The Detroit Free Press also notes that the California-based company that’s been tracking the profits of legal recreational drug sales sees huge potential for more states to go the way of Cali and Colorado.
Arcview Market Research reported $6.8 billion nationally in legal marijuana sales — both recreational and medicinal — in the last year, and expects to see the market to grow to $21.6 billion by 2021.
As for Roth’s desire to study the chemistry behind weed, he was drawn to the courses after a friend’s two-year-old daughter’s seizures were only stopped with the use of medical marijuana. And with a national opioid crisis being declared a public health emergency by the President, weed could offer relief without addiction the way that painkillers like Oxycodone do.
“It is a legitimate medicine and it’s helping people,” Roth said of his studies. “And that makes it more real for me.”
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(Photo via Getty)