Weed University: Here Are Some Places to Learn About Pot

Basically an exercise in how-to major in weed.

Learning about weed has never been so uncomplicated. From traditional universities offering cannabis-niche courses, and newly founded marijuana-specific educational institutions, to weed classes taught over the Internet, the opportunity to glean insight into all things green is good news for normalization proponents, a sign of the times. 

Indeed, this access to cannabis information is somewhat ironic: More than half of the United States has legalized medical or recreational marijuana programs, and consumption is going down in greater numbers than ever. But the fact remains that pot is a Schedule I drug. According to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the Drug Enforcement Administration per the Controlled Substances Act, weed is still illegal AF. The federal designation means that marijuana carries zero medicinal use, a high potential for abuse, and is not an activity of a "good person."

Though the illicit lettuce may be problematic, but the culture and business surrounding marijuana represents massive opportunity for the American worker. Currently, more than 150,000 people are estimated to be employed within the weed world. And an industry report from cannabis data analysis firm BDS Analytics pegs the legal marijuana space as capable of creating a quarter of a million jobs by 2020. 

In Cleveland, Ohio, where in 2016 voters made the Buckeye State number 25 in the union to enact marijuana legislation, would-be cannabis entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, and assumedly just some friendly 420-curious midwestern moms can attend Cleveland Cannabis College for a “well rounded program that educates individuals in horticulture, history, legal, retail, activism, patient access,” according to the January 2017-opened weed-school’s website. 

"We’re that transition where students can come and further their education," Cleveland Cannabis College CEO Richard Pine said to Herb magazine. "We’re also in the process of setting up some programs out West and in Michigan to get students hands-on experience – work internships – so they’ll be able to get their feet on the ground and actually work with the material." 

Ohio's medical marijuana law, House Bill 253, is somewhat limited, in comparison to other weed-legal states.

In California, per the November-passed Proposition 64, adults over the age of 21 can legally consume cannabis and once a framework is put into place by lawmakers, a regulated retail market is expected to provide the state's weed market, and larger economy, with a major boon. In the top half of the Golden State, Oakland-based Oaksterdam University has since 2007, pioneered pot schooling. 

On the school's skin in the California weed game, and evolving course curriculum and student body, Oaksterdam University chancellor Dale Sky Jones told Ganjaprenuer in a podcast interview: 

"We got a lot of guff that we even called it an industry. It was still very much a movement, but we believed that the only way to be taken seriously, the only way to actually become regulated was to start treating ourselves as an industry and self-regulating in the process."

"Then it slowly went from people trying to find a job to people wanting to start a company. We got this influx of entrepreneurs and folks that were looking to invest and understand."

Since legalizing the herb for recreational use in 2012, and establishing a regulated market by 2014, Colorado became the country's "legal weed experiment," which subsequently would incubate a thriving and impactful industry. 

Max Montrose, President of Colorado-based marijuana trade school, the Trichome Institute, which operates a niche educational course on cannabis similar to a sommelier school for wine that it calls Interpening, told the Cannabist:

"We teach people the tools to see and smell how cannabis will affect you psychotropicly and also if it’s acceptable enough to ingest in the first place. . . The terpenes produce smells and these smells are very detectable and these detectable smells have a pharmacology."

Veritably, the cannabis education space is as poised-to-grow as any other sector of the weed world, and even extends to the Internet. Though like any for-profit educational institution––and normalization advocacy aside––the potential to earn revenue is likely just as responsible the emerging corner of the cannabis industry.