Students at the University of Maryland have the chance to gain a Master of Science degree with the first-ever medical cannabis program in the country.
A university in the United States has made history by offering a graduate program in medical marijuana.
This fall semester, 150 students are enrolled in the two-year Master of Science (M.S.) in the Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The program is the nation’s first graduate program devoted to the study of medical marijuana.
According to the University of Maryland-Baltimore’s web page, the cannabis program is a mixture of online instruction and face-to-face interaction giving students “the knowledge they need to support patients and the medical cannabis industry, add to existing research, and develop well-informed medical cannabis policy.”
The competition to get in the cannabis program was fierce, according to an NPR report. The original class size was set at 50 but when more than 500 hopefuls applied, the university increased the capacity to 150. Students enrolled from 32 states and D.C., plus Hong Kong and Australia.
Leah Sera, a pharmacist and the program’s director, told NPR that officials at the university are witnessing a trend where more and more graduates are entering a new professional world that views cannabis as a legitimate medicinal alternative.
“There have been a number of studies, primarily with health professionals, indicating that there is an educational gap related to medical cannabis — that health professionals want more education because patients are coming to them with questions about cannabis and therapeutic uses,” Sera said.
Over in Springfield, Massachusetts, students can obtain a certificate in Cannabis Entrepreneurship at American International College starting in the Spring 2020. According to reports, the school has plans to expand the undergraduate cannabis certificate program to a minor and offer a graduate school program.
Other schools across the country have expanded their curriculum in response to the country’s evolving cannabis policy. From single classes at Harvard to four-year programs in Medicinal Plant Chemistry, cannabis education is on the rise.
Careers in Cannabis
Legal cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, with job growth exploding and no sign of slowing down. Estimates from Marijuana Business Daily’s 2019 Marijuana Factbook show the number of jobs in the cannabis industry will reach 385,000 to 475,000 by 2023.
Thanks to a change in state marijuana laws across the U.S., cannabis industry jobs are on track to grow 34 percent over 2018. Reports from Marijuana Business Daily show the number of full-time cannabis employees in the U.S. could top 200,000 by the end of the year.
Going back to school is not required for all cannabis jobs. Many marijuana workers find a start in retail as trimmers, budtenders, or even security. Those who develop into grow masters have the potential to earn six-digit salaries.
More employment opportunities include retail managers, small business owners, sales representatives, and edible chefs. As more states pass cannabis access laws, the need for cannabis workers is expected to continue to grow.