As an ever-growing number of states are legalizing recreational and medicinal cannabis around the country, cannabis-related jobs are growing in number and in value. From February 2021, the cannabis industry employed approximately 321,000 full-time workers.
Like any business, cannabis businesses need their employees to have specialized skills to succeed, and academic institutions are capitalizing on this. Many colleges are designing cannabis programs to prepare students for the industry’s workforce, from cannabis agriculture to medical marijuana.
In addition to this, some weed-specific institutions have sprouted up around the country, calling themselves “cannabis colleges.” While not accredited, these colleges generally offer in-person and online courses in a wide range of cannabis studies, claiming to advance the careers of people looking to make it in this virtually uncharted industry.
But while these cannabis colleges sound like fun places to hang out, one can’t help but ask: are they worth the money? Would a degree from “THC University” actually advance your career in any meaningful way?
To avoid you having to get into the weeds of it (no pun intended), we did the research for you. Here are the answers to your most pressing questions on cannabis colleges.
Are cannabis colleges legal?
In the United States and the majority of states, recreational marijuana remains illegal. However, cannabis courses are legal as long as they do not involve selling or possessing marijuana. Even so, the legal ground for cannabis education can change. Universities with such programs must monitor federal regulations to ensure they do not conflict with them.
The most important thing for you to know is that, while legal, no accreditation agency approves cannabis colleges. The federal government is in no hurry to set up an accreditation program for this purpose. Furthermore, states cannot create accreditation systems specifically for cannabis education.
As a result of the lack of uncertainty, you should thoroughly research any cannabis college you’re interested in. Be sure the college you apply to is in line with the law, and that the degree they offer is what they say it is. You can read reviews from either current students or alumni to check this.
Bear in mind that there are degrees in cannabis-related studies offered by fully accredited institutions. These colleges and universities offer majors, minors, certificates, and even Master’s degrees in cannabis, all of which are fully accredited and legal since they do not come from a cannabis-specific college. You can see more information on accredited cannabis degrees here.
Why should I get a degree in cannabis?
What you want to do with your career will determine whether you need a cannabis degree. For example, if you want to work in cultivation, you need to be familiar with cannabis as a plant and drug. The same goes for working in pharmacology in the cannabis industry.
The more normalized cannabis becomes, the more competitive the market for cannabis jobs will be. A degree in a cannabis-related field may soon become a crucial asset to make you stand out.
What kinds of jobs will I get with a cannabis degree?
The cannabis industry needs all kinds of skilled and educated workers to thrive—not just budtenders.
The industry needs pharmacologists, lab testing operators, cultivators, and managers. At the moment, it’s hard for businesses to find people with the right skills to work within these fields. But academic institutions offering degrees in cannabis studies are aiming to fill that void.
Thanks to the cannabis education programs available today, you can study almost any aspect of the cannabis industry you can think of, from plant chemistry to cannabis law. These specialized degrees will help you start a cannabis business if that’s what you desire, but will also boost your career in many other aspects of the industry.
Will cannabis degrees become an industry norm?
As cannabis-related programs become more prevalent, industry experts predict more will appear.
The truth is, though, that it’s not easy to create a cannabis studies program, even at an accredited school. And the legal aspects of cannabis colleges are murky, as many states have yet to decide on marijuana regulations.
So while it’s unlikely that a degree in cannabis will become commonplace in the near future, it’s certainly a nice thing to have under your belt as the industry becomes more competitive—whether from an accredited college or a cannabis college.
What are some popular cannabis colleges?
Here are some of the most well-known cannabis colleges in the U.S. today:
- Oaksterdam University
- Cannabis Training University (CTU)
- Clover Leaf University
- Trichome Institute
- THC University
Oaksterdam University is the first cannabis school in the United States. Many of its courses focus on the growing and horticulture of marijuana. You can earn an in-person or online degree here.
The Cannabis Training University offers a greater range of courses than Oaksterdam University. The Medical Marijuana Certificate Program is the largest training program of its kind. This cannabis college offers online courses.
According to reviews, many students find that the cannabis courses they take from cannabis colleges do not prepare them for more lucrative careers in the field. But like with any academic institution, there are others who have found it to be a great investment.
Ultimately, if you’re considering attending one of these schools, just make sure you do your research first to determine whether it’s worth your time.