Cannabis And Higher Education: A Discussion With College/University Educators

This article was originally published on Skunk Magazine and appears here with permission.

“The nature of this industry requires professors, students, and business professionals to remain attentive to regulatory and market changes, push for innovation, and combat engrained stigma and beliefs.” – Koral Fritz, Assistant Professor

I wanted to write this piece because I am curious, and figured if I am, others may be too. Cannabis as a degree/ program is here and I want to know what that looks like. When I was in college, there was no such thing, same for so many of you.

On social media, and in various articles, I am seeing the growth of advertisements related to cannabis education programs in colleges and universities soar. Just as much and fast as the industry itself is growing, it seems as if the number of colleges and universities adding cannabis programs and degrees to their lists of degree/certificate options is growing as well. 

It may not appear this way because cannabis isn’t tracked like other things. Due to federal prohibition, college education statistics at the national level aren’t easy to come by like statistics related to the number of MBA graduates nationally. But we can see cannabis, the industry, and jobs in cannabis reaching heights many of us never imagined.

In an article titled: Are Cannabis Degrees Legit, the author points out:

“As of February 2021, the cannabis industry supports approximately 321,000 full-time jobs in the U.S. That figure amounts to an annual job growth of 32%. The cannabis industry needs labor, and these workers must have the expertise and skills to work in an emerging field. This is where colleges come in.”

I wanted to know what college looks like with cannabis as a major/minor, who cannabis degrees and programs are good for, what students need to prepare for cannabis and higher education, and what it’s like to be at the foundation of cannabis and college education as a student and/or a professor.

Meet the Cannabis Educators/Professors 

I had the opportunity to sit down with, and pick the brains of 5 professors/educators about cannabis and higher education. It’s my pleasure to introduce you all to a handful of cannabis educators/professors/dean’s teaching at various higher education institutions; each facilitating a different course/program in cannabis:

Brett Puffenbarger, MA, CCE, “One of my favorite things in the world is crushing the stigma around being a cannabis consumer”- Brett Puffenbarger; Course(s): Business Model Innovation in Cannabis. Featured in: Bluntness, the Cannabis Review Show, and CSP Daily News. 

Rob Mejia, MCM “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” –Aristotle; Course(s): Cannabis Internship, Intro to Medical Cannabis, Cannabis Studies, and Social Justice in Cannabis. Author of: The Essential Cannabis Book and The Essential Cannabis Journal. Featured in Benzinga and RVN Television.

David Paleschuck, MBA, BFA: “I never let my schooling interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain; Course(s): Business of Cannabis. Author of: Branding Bud, the Commercialization of Cannabis. Member of Clio Cannabis jury. Featured in the Beverage Trade Network and Pro Marketing Magazine.

Jennifer Maden, MBA, MA: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” –Nelson Mandela; Assistant Dean and Director of Graduate Studies at Rohrer College of Business at Rowan University Liaison for Rowan’s Cannabis Institute for Research, Policy, & Workforce Development. Featured in CBS- Philadelphia News and NJ Business Beat. 

Michael Zaytsev: “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” –Jiddu Krishnamurti; Academic Director of Business of Cannabis degree program. Author of: the Cannabis Business Book. Featured in Grit Daily and the Green Entrepreneur. 

Cannabis …

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