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Cannabis being offered as a college course could well have served as the punch line to a series of jokes just some years back. Even idealists with a penchant for forward-thinking would likely have balked at the idea of higher education ever including programs like cannabis cultivation and the basics of cannabis business. But, always one to defy the odds, the plant has found acceptance in recent years among academics, and it is now being taught as a topic of study in schools across the globe.

The first to establish the trend, America has been home to both cannabis schools and colleges that offer courses specifically in cannabis for several years. Perhaps best known among the former is an institution called Oaksterdam University. Founded in 2007 and located in Oakland, California, Oaksterdam has roots dating back to 1995. The college bills itself as the world’s first cannabis college and boasts an impressive 35,000 alumni.1

An increasing number of reputable schools in the U.S. are now offering cannabis courses. That growing list includes institutions like Harvard, Vanderbilt, Ohio State, Oregon States and Denver University.2 Two of the first and most sophisticated American college cannabis courses continue to be offered at Philadelphia’s Temple University and the University of California Berkeley, which includes a cannabis journalism course at its school of communications.3 

Even before the federal legalization of adult-use cannabis in Canada, the country’s post-secondary schools were starting to offer courses in the field. Like the U.S., Canada now has a mix of cannabis-based courses, which are delivered mostly online, and a plethora of established colleges and universities that offer cannabis programs to students.4

The most popular among these include small schools like Okanagan College, Camosun College and Kwantlen Polytechnic University, while other larger institutions like Niagara College, Boreal College in Toronto and Durham College in Oshawa are fast getting into the fray. In future, it stands to reason that even more schools will begin offering cannabis courses in Canada, as everything from the science to the business of the plant are becoming hot topics of academic discourse.5

Of course, cannabis research and education are not reserved to North American institutions. As one of the first countries to lead the charge in synthesizing cannabinoids, Israel is also currently offering cannabis courses. In fact, at Israel’s revered Hadassah Academic College, one of the world’s premier cannabis education courses is now available to students looking to gain a foothold in the business of medical cannabis entrepreneurship.

The colleges and universities that have been outlined above are only some of the many institutions that are now embracing cannabis as a topic of study. Whether specializing exclusively in cannabis or offering courses that involve everything from plant maintenance to marketing, these programs are showing, once and for all, that cannabis has a legitimate place in higher learning.

  1. “Oaksterdam University – About.” https://oaksterdamuniversity.com/about/
  2. “Higher education: where can you study cannabis?” https://merryjane.com/culture/cannabis-education-schools
  3. “Cannabis journalism course offered at UC Berkeley this summer.” https://merryjane.com/culture/cannabis-journalism-course-offered-at-uc-berkeley-this-summer
  4. “Want to work in cannabis? Here’s where you should study.” https://news.vice.com/en_ca/article/a3nane/heres-where-you-should-study-in-canada-if-you-want-to-work-in-cannabis
  5. “Want a job in the cannabis industry? Try these Canadian colleges.” https://www.macleans.ca/education/want-a-job-in-the-cannabis-industry-try-these-canadian-colleges/

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