University lights up as culture, politics 'shift'

Stockton University in New Jersey launched a “Cannabis Studies” minor this fall, which consists of five courses that the school says will give students the education required to excel in the field of cannabis. But, as the school made clear, the new program does not constitute an endorsement of the drug.

While other institutions have offered classes for the medical marijuana industry or related matters, the New Jersey school is one of the very first institutions with a complete minor in marijuana. Thirty-one states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico have legalized medical cannabis, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. 

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Students enlisting in the minor will take Introduction to Medical Marijuana (GEN 2347), Cannabis Law (GSS 2198), Internship Preparation (GEN 3XXX) (including Cannabis research and a basic understanding of small business operations), and one elective course that can be chosen from a variety of select general education courses. The fifth course is an internship during which Stockton students can intern in a wide variety of disciplines in the field of Cannabis Studies, including energy efficiency, cultivation, retail, social media, and patient research.

Cannabis Studies minors must take a total of five courses or a total of 15 credit hours of coursework. These students, if in-state, will pay approximately $5,100. If out-of-state, the minor could cost them up to $9,200.

“As the culture and politics surrounding cannabis continues to shift, there is a need for academic, accredited institutions to provide evidence-based education to those who may one day work in fields specific to this emerging industry, particularly among those working in medicine,” a spokesman for cannabis legalization group NORML told Campus Reform. “It is notable that a number of universities are responding to this need by offering these new curricul[a].”

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”This is a growing industry and we want to prepare our students from a variety of academic viewpoints,” Stockton biology professor and cannabis studies program coordinator Ekaterina Sedia told Campus Reform.

”We will not be telling students what is the right thing to do,” Sedia said. “We will be providing a context and information that they can use to make their own decisions. Offering a program is not an endorsement.”

Stockton Spokeswoman Diane D’Amico told that the 25 students enrolled in the minor will participate in a fall 2018 cannabis law course and a spring 2019 medical marijuana class. 

Once students complete a few classes in the program, they’ll be able to work an internship at various marijuana-related organizations in the state, including marijuana cultivation facilities.

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