Northern Michigan University will offer the country’s first cannabis degree


Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

We previously reported on Canada beginning to offer its first cannabis-related degree, and now it appears the United States will have its own. North Michigan University has announced it will soon allow students to get a degree in Medicinal Plant Chemistry.

“The focus of the program is on chemistry and plant biology,” Dr. Mark Paulsen, a professor who will be leading the program, told Cannabis News Box. “All students will participate in our medicinal plant chemistry seminar courses where they will hear from experts about current trends and issues in the medicinal plant industry.”

There are places like Oaksterdam University where you can take classes that focus on cannabis, but this will be the first school where you can actually get a degree related to cannabis. With states across the nation legalizing medicinal and social use cannabis, it’s no surprise colleges are starting to offer these kinds of programs.

“Presentations we attended at various chemistry conferences, discussions with manufacturers of chemical instrumentation, conversations with business people in the medicinal plant industry all indicated there was a real need for additional technically trained individuals who could oversee testing of medicinal plant products for safety and consistency,” Paulsen said.

Paulsen said the program has received a lot of interest, and he believes it will be very successful. He said he has long had interest in medicinal plants. “In Michigan, marijuana use for medicinal purposes under a doctor’s care is legal, and so I know of individuals who are using that particular plant for medicinal purposes,” he said.

As more and more states legalize cannabis, there will be more job opportunities in the industry, and businesses will need skilled workers. It’s not just about hiring cashiers and people who can move the product. People who understand the biology of cannabis will be sought after, and courses like this one will help expand the pool of possible employees.

It seems likely many colleges will start following the path Northern Michigan University is taking.