Colleges offer marijuana courses for business, health care: Report

Interested in getting started in the pot business? Now there are college courses for that.

The University of Maryland (UMD) and Cornell University are both offering courses in cannabis, The Wall Street Journal reported.

UMD’s School of Pharmacy announced in June that it would be offering a master’s degree in medical cannabis, while Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science will offer a course in the upcoming semester called “Cannabis: Biology, Society and Industry.

UMD’s master’s program will focus on “the areas of basic science, clinical use, adverse effects and public health, and federal and state laws and policies surrounding medical cannabis,” according to the announcement about the new program.

According to the class description, Cornell’s course will “explore the history, culture, pharmacology, breeding, horticulture and legal challenges associated with cannabis in an effort to inform and stimulate new ideas towards solving these problems, motivating future plant breeders, horticulturists, farmers, pharmacologists, and entrepreneurs to be successful in the cannabis industry.”

“I advise a lot of students in a lot of majors and they’re all like, this is going to be cool,” Cornell’s Program Director of Agricultural Sciences Antonio DiTommaso told the Journal. “I think some of it is just a novelty, but it’s really going to be based on the cropping, the agronomics, the medicinal aspect, the chemistry, consumer attitudes and policy.”

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in 11 states and Washington, D.C. and is legal for medical use in 22 other states, the Journal reported. The industry even added thousands of jobs last year.

It offers opportunities across a wide range of areas such as business, technology, agriculture and even health care, according to the Journal. But even as the industry continues to grow, some universities are slow to follow suit with their courses, the outlet reported.

To encourage the growth of educational programs and courses, some cannabis companies have been partnering with universities.

According to the Journal, Chicago-based company Cresco Labs has partnered with 10 universities to set up courses, offer scholarships and encourage research.

These programs come at a time when marijuana companies are struggling to get support from banks because of provisions that scare banks off from working with pot companies, MarketWatch reported.


John Lord, the CEO of Colorado marijuana retailer LivWell Enlightened Health, said last week he had “no choice” but to bring $3 million in cash to his local IRS office for those very provisions.

During a Senate panel hearing last week about a bill that would protect banks that work with legal marijuana businesses, Lord also said he once rented out a former bank so he could use its vault for storing his company’s cash, according to the report.

The issue is related to the incongruity between federal law and the laws of the growing number of states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana. Banks are afraid of being punished for dealing with money that’s tied to something the DEA still considers a Schedule I drug.

FOX Business’ James Leggate contributed to this report.