Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Do You Need a Degree in Marijuana?

More and more states are legalizing it, meaning there are more and more business opportunities out there when it comes to marijuana. But, as opposed to computer science degrees for coders and engineers, MBAs for small business entrepreneurs, and even wine- and beer-making programs, there are precious few educational opportunities for those make a career in the weed field. (Outside of what you glean from the internet and that burnt out neighbor with a few sickly plants in his closet.)

But as marijuana goes mainstream, some colleges are looking to cash in, including Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan, which began its medical plant chemistry program this semester. So do you need a dank degree in cannabis cultivation?

Majoring in Marijuana

"When they hear what my major is," 19-year-old NMU sophomore Alex Roth told the Detroit Free Press, "there are a lot of people who say, 'Wow, cool dude. You're going to get a degree growing marijuana.' But it's not an easy degree at all." Instead the university's Medicinal Plant Chemistry program is equal parts science and business:

The required coursework provides a foundation in chemistry and plant biology, with a capstone research experience involving experimental horticulture and instrumental analysis of natural products, while focus tracks allow students to explore their interests in the relevant areas of business and accounting (Entrepreneurial Track) or advanced topics in chemistry and biology (Bio-analytical Track).

While some other colleges and universities offer classes focused on marijuana policy and law, and some other institutions (like Oaksterdam University, Cannabis College, and Humboldt Cannabis College, in California and THC University, the Grow School, and Clover Leaf University in Colorado) offer certificate programs in pot, Northern Michigan's is the only 4-year undergraduate degree program "designed to prepare students for success in the emerging industries relating to medicinal plant production, analysis, and distribution."

Pot Programs

As a Schedule I drug under federal law and still an illicit substance in many states, the opportunities to study marijuana -- especially from the small business standpoint -- are few and far between. But before you go dashing back to school like Rodney Dangerfield, you may want to consult with an experienced attorney about your cannabiz plans first.

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