Northern Michigan University has tweaked its curriculum a bit this semester. For the first time ever, the school is going to offer a degree in weed.
While recreational use is still illegal in the state, it is one of 29 states that allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The drug has been linked to improving quality of life and healing patients dealing with everything from cancer and chronic pain to Alzheimer's disease and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Some remain skeptical about a college offering such an educational track, but students insist that it is not a major that you can coast through.
According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, the school is offering a four-year medicinal plant chemistry degree that includes courses in everything from organic chemistry and soils, to accounting and financial management.
The accounting will be particularly important since current cannabis businesses operate in cash. Since banks are regulated by the feds, they don't want anything to do with the industry, even though it could come close to generating $7 billion in 2018. According to a report in the LA Times, approximately 70% of cannabis businesses don't have bank accounts, so financial management is a must.
According to the report, the medical marijuana industry in Michigan is expected to reach $711 million in sales, and contribute $21 million in taxes. If the state legalizes recreational use, we could be talking about billions of dollars in revenue and taxes.
Unfortunately, students won't actually grow marijuana plants during the course of their study. Instead, they will work with other plants like ginseng root and St. John's Wort, and apply the information to their new discipline without breaking any growing laws.
This is IEN Now with David Mantey.