Cannabis has found its way into the higher education curriculum. This is after the University of Cincinnati (UC) became the first American institution of higher learning to offer cannabis studies certificate.
Certificate in cannabis studies
The program is a brainchild of Sue Trusty, a highly respected horticulture professor at the UC’s College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP). Trusty attended a 2018 conference in California, where she gathered a wealth of information regarding cannabis.
Upon coming back from the conference, Trusty introduced an Introduction to Hemp and Medical Cannabis course at the DAAP College. The course has been running at the UC for the past three semesters, and so far, so good. This prompted the college to launch a full certificate program.
The pioneer course attracted a bunch of cannabis professionals who came in and spoke to students.
I developed this course, and all of these people were coming in and talking to the class, and they said, ‘Hey, you know, wouldn’t it be great if we could expand on this and make a certificate out of it? [A program] where a student who is already majoring in a field that they are passionate about—like business or horticulture or whatever—that they could tie that into the horticulture, Prof Trusty said.
Trusty also attributes the motivation to put up the certificate program together to her fellow colleagues and peers at the UC, who pointed out that a certificate program would work.
A multi-layered topic
Students taking the certificate program will study cannabis as a multi-layered topic. They will address it as an ancient natural plant and a skyrocketing nascent business that causes ripples worldwide. Students will explore various topics, including historical, cultural, societal, and regulatory aspects of cannabis.
They will also interact with experts in botany, biology, anthropology, medicine, fashion, and political science to contribute to the program. Importantly, the program keeps in mind the post-college job market aspect, considering that the cannabis business is currently booming.
“There are so many [jobs]. The first thing is, you need to grow it, so growers. Then you need to harvest it and process it. Then, while you’re growing, there is testing, so people work in testing labs. People process it, so what are you going to sell it as, or what will you turn it into once it’s sold? So, we have people who are making oils, vape cartridges, and edibles. And then this is sold in a dispensary, so we have shop owners and people who work at the dispensary. When you have a business like that, you need business-people for advertising and other things,” explained Trusty.
The new UC program aims to address cannabis studies as medicine and hemp as a flexible material that serves tons of practical applications. It also seeks to address the lingering question of cannabis prohibition.