Where To Get A Marijuana Education

Pen and pot on paper

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Feature by Brit Smith, host of Blunt Talk

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Cannabis is undoubtedly the fastest growing industry in the nation. And while West-Coasters have their pick of pot schools, if you’re a New Englander, a solid education in marijuana (that’s not from a random unaccredited online institute) is still pretty hard to find.

So we put together a list of six well known colleges and universities across the Northeast that offer accredited courses on all things weed.

1) Clark University, Worcester MA - Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Affairs for Cannabis Control.

What’s on offer?

  • This is a web-based course from a brick and mortar school in central Mass. The curriculum is aimed at filling the void of knowledge on cannabis policy and surrounding regulatory issues. The three-course graduate certificate program is set to begin in Fall 2019.

What will I learn?

  • The required classes are “cannabis education and enforcement,” “regulatory framework for cannabis control,” and “health and public safety implications of cannabis use.”
  • The Curriculum was developed by John LaBrie, the dean of Clark University’s School of Professional Studies. He says the program is designed to help students understand how the cannabis industry will impact our larger society. “Participants will be able to understand the story of cannabis, how it fits into current society, the benefits and the risks of what we’re undertaking, and what to look forward to in the future.”

What will I get? 

  • Credits from the Cannabis Control Course can be applied towards the school’s Masters of Public Administration program.

2) Mount Wachusett Community College, Gardner MA - Cannabis Career Training Program

What’s on offer?

  • This is a learn-at-your-own-pace online course from a community college located in a very pot-friendly region of Massachusetts. The program can be started anytime a student wants to register. Mount Wachusett partnered with a company called Online Cannabis Education to offer this course on cannabis industry best practices.

What will I learn?

  • For one year, students will get 24/7 access to hundreds of videos, e-books, quizzes, and a certificate exam. 
  • The course is hinged on nine focal areas that come together to offer a holistic cannabis education. Classes include; Medical Marijuana, Cannabis Business, Budtending, Marijuana Growing, Cannabis Career, Cooking and Extraction, Master of Marijuana, Marijuana Law, and Trimming.

What will I get?

  • The completion of each area of focus comes with its own certificate of completion. Other schools can also add the course to their curriculum and accept it as credit.

3) Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA - Cannabis Law

What’s on offer?

  • This 1-credit reading group focused on cannabis law was available in Spring 2019. It could make a comeback in future semesters, but right now it’s not listed as an option for Fall.

What will I learn?

  • The class gave an overview of how federal, state, and local law regulates and structures the cannabis industry.
  • The course involved cannabis-related legal issues like criminal law enforcement, land use, civil rights, banking, topics surrounding cultivation, distribution, and medical and recreational use.

What will I get?

  •  If it gets offered again, currently enrolled students at Harvard Law can opt for this class as part of their degree program.

4) University of Connecticut, Mansfield CT - Horticulture of Cannabis: From Seed to Harvest

What’s on offer?

  • UConn debuted this 3-credit course in Spring 2019, and it was such a hit they brought it back as an online offering for the second summer session. The in-person class was capped at 40 students, and it filled up fast, especially since it had no prerequisites.

What will I learn?

  • The course gives an overview of the complete growing cycle of the cannabis plant. The course website cautions that the entire program is scientifically rigorous, and that students would benefit from a background in biology, chemistry, and horticulture.
  • Classes are taught by a professor from the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, who touts it as “the first cannabis horticulture course offered by any U.S. academic institution.” Lectures focus on growing cannabis both outdoors and in an indoor controlled environment, and it covers seed production, cloning, pruning, plant training, crop management techniques, post-harvest handling, and THC extraction. 
  • Previous semesters have also featured guest lecturers, including professionals working in financial investment, CBD business development, cannabinoid use for pain management, and state-certified cannabis testing labs.

What will I get?

  • This course is available for credit as part of the undergraduate electives options at UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources.

5) University of Vermont, Burlington VT - Cannabis Science and Medicine

What’s on offer?

  • UVM’s Larner College of Medicine is offering a whopping six educational programs that focus on the science of marijuana. Students must be at least 18 years old to enroll, and must already have a Bachelor’s degree, which has to include courses in foundational biology.
  • Cannabis science courses range from 7 or 8 weeks to a full semester, online and on-demand. Enrollment is now open for classes starting in October 2019.

What will I learn?

  • The six separate educational programs cover a wide range of pot-related issues;
  • First, there’s the non-credit horticulturally-focused certificate program entitled “Cannabis Plant Biology,” which is primarily designed for hemp industry workers. Students will learn about cannabis chemicals, genetics, agricultural best practices, post-harvest handling, basic pharmacology, and modes of marijuana administration.

  • Second, there’s a course with the University's Department of Pharmacology which offers a “Cannabis Science and Medicine” program. This not-for-credit class covers cannabis history, law and policy, business, plant biology, biological effects on humans, production and safety, and clinical research. 

  • Third is an online on-demand “Science and Medicine Modules” course that gives up to 2-hour briefings on a plethora of marijuana-related topics. That includes history, policy, and law, public health risks and benefits, biology and basic science of the endocannabinoid system, phytocannabinoids and terpenes, physiology and adverse effects, preparations and dosage, chronic pain, cancer, palliative care, MS and Parkinson’s disease, and seizures. 

  • Fourth, there’s a free online on-demand speaker series available from 2016, which features video presentations from a long list of doctors with cannabis expertise. Topics include plant biology, pharmacology, clinical practice, cannabis chemistry, and business and policy.

  • Fifth, there’s an online on-demand program that features videos from the Community Medical School Archives, given by professors of Psychiatry and Pharmacology. It looks at two key online educational tools, entitled “How Cannabis Affects the Body and the Brain,” and “Examining the Science of Medical Cannabis.” 

  • And last but not least, the sixth offering is called “Pharmacology 200: Cannabis Past, Present, and Future.” This Department of Pharmacology program is 3 credits, over an entire semester. It gives an introduction to the pharmacology underlying the recreational and medical uses of cannabis, including cannabinoid chemistry, physiological effects, therapeutic applications, and the historical, political, and socio-economic influences of medical marijuana legalization. It’s open to continuing education and graduate students.

What will I get?

  • Except for the Pharmacology 200 course, the rest of these classes are certificate programs that are not-for-credit. They are meant for continuing education, purely for the student to learn more about the topic at hand.

6) University of Maryland, Baltimore MD - MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics 

What's on offer?

  • The University of Maryland’s School of Pharmacy has launched the first graduate degree in medical cannabis in the nation. Some lectures will be in person, the rest of the course is online. And since it’s a Masters in Science, students must already have a Bachelor’s Degree to enroll.
  • The two year course will be based at the Shady Grove campus in Rockville, Md, and is said to have something for everyone; from clinicians and researchers, to dispensary workers and policy makers.
  • There is no thesis involved; instead, students will complete a capstone course featuring a selection of expert seminars, discussions, and case studies. The online portion of the course is designed to help students with or without a background in science or medicine. Students will take four foundational courses, and four electives.

What will I learn?

  • By the end of the course, graduates will be able to identify patients who could benefit from cannabis therapy, give advice on dosing and administration methods, ensure safe and effective designs and manufacturing processes for cannabis products, identify potential research opportunities, and participate in policy making decisions related to medical cannabis.

What will I get?

  • This is a Masters in Science Degree. Government financial aid is available through FAFSA, but the program itself does not offer scholarships or grants. The entire program will set in-state residents back about $20,000, out of staters will pay close to $26,000 for their MS.

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