By Aaron Kesel
All across the U.S. colleges are now adding cannabis (both hemp and marijuana) programs to their curriculum, including schools in states where recreational marijuana remains illegal, for students to major in the cannabis industry, according to a new report by CBS 3.
“More jobs are being created in this space than in any other space in North America, with salaries sometimes more competitive than other industries,” Karson Humiston, founder of Vangst, an employment agency focused on cannabis jobs, recently told the Associated Press. “With every new state that legalizes, tons of jobs are opening up.”
Research shows there several career openings in the cannabis industry, varying from greenhouse and dispensary operators to edible product developers, marketing specialists, quality assurance lab directors, and even pharmaceutical researchers. Activist Post previously reported that a study found, “More Than Half Quit Using Prescription Drugs After Using Cannabis and CBD Products.”
There are an exceeding number of at least 850 brands of marijuana-derived CBD products on the market and 150 hemp-derived solutions according to the study. It’s worth noting for the reader that marijuana and hemp are the two variations of the cannabis plant.
Arcview Market Research, a firm that focuses on cannabis business, estimates the industry will be responsible for 467,000 jobs by 2022.
Colleges all over the U.S. are now offering a cannabis curriculum to students even in states where recreational marijuana remains illegal or pending legislation like New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Other states offering degrees in the cannabis industry at numerous universities to students include North Dakota, Michigan, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California, to name a few.
Specifically, the universities that are following suit, according to the report:
- Colorado State University offers a cannabis studies minor focusing on social, legal, political and health impacts.
- Minot State University in North Dakota, offers students the ability to learn lab skills applicable to medical marijuana, botanical supplements and food science industries.
- Ohio State University, Harvard, the University of Denver and Vanderbilt offer classes on marijuana policy and law.
- The University of Connecticut is launching a cannabis horticulture program this spring.
- Stockton University started an interdisciplinary cannabis minor last fall and recently forged an academic partnership with Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia that gives students the opportunity for internships and research work in medical marijuana and hemp.
- UCLA’s Cannabis Research Initiative, which bills itself as one of the first academic programs in the world dedicated to the study of cannabis, has studies underway ranging from medical treatments to economic impacts.
In 2017, the University of Northern Michigan was the first college to offer a four-year undergraduate major degree in Medicinal Plant Chemistry program. One of its professors told CNBC how much money students could make out of school:
“All of our graduates are going to be qualified to be analysts in a lab setting,” Brandon Canfield, the associate professor of analytical chemistry who started the program, tells CNBC Make It. That could lead to a position that pays $70,000 right out of school, he added.
Cannabis businesses differ from medical and recreational marijuana to foods, fabrics and a myriad of other products derived from industrial hemp.
Hemp has only a trace of THC, but produces cannabidiol, or CBD, used in nutritional and therapeutic products as well as beverages and snacks that are increasingly being banned as Activist Post previously reported.
CBD oil is derived as a powerful ingredient reaped from the hemp plant. Many may find it shocking to learn that CBD is similar to a compound that our bodies produce naturally, and from birth, called endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids aren’t just found in the cannabis plant, they’re also naturally occurring in other plants in nature, they are just found at a higher potency in cannabis.
CBD has shown promise as a treatment for conditions like epilepsy and anxiety in early research. Although more research is needed into CBD oil and its effects, much of the studies have been positive.
Marijuana is now legal for medical purposes in 33 states and as a recreational drug in 10 out of the 50 states. Meanwhile, marijuana remains illegal federally; however, the 2018 Farm bill slightly legalized hemp when President Donald Trump signed what’s being deemed “the Farm Bill of 2018” into law right before Christmas of last year on December 20th, 2018.
The Farm Bill was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who announced that he would propose the legislation alongside Senator Rand Paul to legalize hemp by removing it from the list of controlled substances, where cannabis sits alongside psilocybin mushrooms, MDMA, and heroin. The bill would also offer “full protection for individual farmers as well as the interstate commerce of U.S. grown and manufactured hemp products; normalize finance, banking, insurance, and other business proceedings for the hemp industry; advance research opportunities; ensure access to public water rights for hemp farmers; and protect the increasing and perhaps unlimited variety of hemp-derived products by promulgating a ‘whole plant’ definition of Hemp.”
It’s “an $867 billion, five-year spending bill that funds agricultural, nutrition and other federal programs — also loosened some federal restrictions on cannabis. It legalized hemp by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act while preserving the FDA’s authority to regulate the products,” CNBC reported.
The FDA currently prohibits companies from adding CBD and THC to food, drinks, and supplements. The agency also forbids manufacturers and retailers from making any therapeutic claims about their products. It also restrains the sale of food, supplements and other products containing CBD across state lines at its current state of laws.
However, recently resigned FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb even stated that the agency is looking for “pathways” to legalize the sale of CBD oil and other cannabis-derived compounds in food, beverages, and supplements.
“We recognize the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds could offer and acknowledge the significant interest in these possibilities,” Gottlieb said in a statement. “We’re committed to pursuing an efficient regulatory framework for allowing product developers that meet the requirements under our authorities to lawfully market these types of products.”
Meanwhile, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stressed that CBD is still illegal. Last year, a spokesperson for the agency explained to Indiana news WTHR that those who violate federal drug laws still run the “risk of arrest and prosecution.” Although, he reassured that the DEA is not going after individuals who have benefited from CBD oil.
“It would not be an appropriate use of federal resources to go after a mother because her child has epileptic seizures and has found something that can help and has helped. Are they breaking the law? Yes, they are. Are we going to break her door down? Absolutely not. And I don’t think she’ll be charged by any U.S. Attorney,” DEA spokesperson Rusty Payne told the Indiana news station.
With the Farm Bill of 2018 passed and signed by U.S. President Trump, the legislation effectively removes industrial hemp from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. While it federally legalizes the commercial cultivation of the crop, what wasn’t touched was CBD oil-based products.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its very first cannabis-derived drug in June of last year, Epidiolex a (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, according to the regulator’s website.
So now a new extension of the drug war seems to be brewing against products with CBD oil in them as an adjuvant, with the states fighting back against the FDA’s own opinion on CBD oil.
As the marijuana industry grows high time alongside the hemp and CBD industries, these colleges are preparing graduates for careers in cultivating, researching and analyzing both hemp and marijuana herbs. A report from New Frontier Data predicts that by 2020 the legal cannabis market will create more than a quarter of a million jobs and people will need to be trained for those businesses. This is a step in the right direction to enable future generations a career in medical marijuana, hemp or any of the other cannabis industries.
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.