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Degree in weed: Where you can now study marijuana

You can now study weed at this university. Source: Getty

The cannabis industry is growing rapidly – so rapidly that some universities are starting to offer undergraduate degrees in marijuana. 

A new program at Colorado State University will offer the United States’ first official undergraduate degree studying weed: the Cannabis Biology and Chemistry program. 

But dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at the university, David Lehmpuhl, warned it wasn’t going to be a stoner’s paradise.

“This is a really rigorous kind of scientific degree,” he said.

“We have been working on this particular degree program for over a year now, and the chemistry department and the biology department have put together a program that really emphasises the science of cannabis.”

The dean said the university was interested in ensuring the cannabis industry continued to expand, and that the products people were using were safe. 

He also hoped it would help students prepare for jobs in the industry.

“We believe that it is meeting the needs of the community, the industries that are in the community ... We are developing our students to work in the industry,” he said.

Legalising cannabis

Governments across the nation have moved towards legalising cannabis, with Canberra taking the lead in Australia. 

As of 31 January 2020, it is legal to grow the cannabis plant, collect up to 50 grams of dried bud and smoke it as you like within your own home in the Australian Capital Territory.

In the US, marijuana is legal in 11 states for adults over the age of 21, and legal for medical use in 33 states.

Colorado, where the undergraduate degree will be offered, was one of the first US states to decriminalise cannabis, with the drug legalised for recreational use since 2012. 

The cannabis industry

In 2019, the cannabis sector dropped 32 per cent, but there’s a solid reason. 

In a note to clients at the beginning of the year, analysts at US investment bank Stifel said the the sector’s decline was a "[consequence] of the industry's rapid development colliding with a slower developing opportunity particularly in Canada, the first developed market for adult use”.

They then said “the themes propelling the sector to over $50 billion in public enterprise value now stand diametrically opposed to the themes currently prevailing in the sector.”

According to cannabis information site, Cannabis Co, Australia has had success in the agri-pharma market, but there’s still a fair bit of red tape to cut before the industry blossoms.

But the cannabidiol industry is definitely taking off, according to an analysis from 99designs.

Experts believe the popularity of cannabidiol – a medicinal compound and cannabis extract that doesn’t make you high – is rising, with the number of these businesses needing design work rising by a stunning 1,568 per cent since 2015, and 61 per cent in the last 12 months alone.

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