Michigan university offers full-range cannabis degree

A university in Michigan is offering a degree in marijuana that goes beyond simply classes related to cannabis, more evidence that MJ is being recognized as a mainstream industry.

Northern Michigan University in Marquette began its medical plant chemistry program this semester, with about a dozen students in the first class, the Detroit Free Press reported. The program combines chemistry, biology, botany, horticulture, marketing and finance.

Northern Michigan’s program is unique because the university is offering a four-year degree addressing the science and business behind growing marijuana.

Brandon Canfield, an associate chemistry professor at Northern Michigan, said students won’t grow marijuana plants in the program, but instead look to other plants that are traditionally recognized with medicinal value but aren’t illegal to cultivate.

Students learn how to measure and extract the compounds in the plants that can be used for medicinal purposes, then transfer that knowledge to marijuana, which has been used to treat a variety of illnesses.

University officials say the program fills a need because 30 states have legalized medical marijuana, along with eight states where marijuana is also legal for recreational use.

Michigan’s fully regulated MMJ market is also slated to start next year, and the state may also legalize adult use in 2018.

Associated Press