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University Creates First-Ever 'Cannabis Center of Excellence' Research Center

Lake Superior State University will train students as "job-ready chemists," with hopes the school draws the attention of cannabis entrepreneurs

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A small public university in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has opened a large facility dedicated to cannabis training and research. Students in the university’s cannabis chemistry degree program will use the center as part of their studies.

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Lake Superior State University in Sault Saint Marie, Michigan, is calling the 2,600-square-foot facility the Cannabis Center of Excellence at the Crawford Hall of Science.

Related: Thomas Jefferson University Receives $3 Million Marijuana Research Grant

University officials said the center and cannabis chemistry degree program will prepare students as “job-ready chemists, with hands-on, innovative experience using state-of-the-art instrumentation and industry protocols,” according to a press release.

In addition to the bachelor’s degree in Cannabis Chemistry, which the school says is the first of its kind in the country, Lake Superior State University also offers a bachelor’s degree in Cannabis Business.

The degree programs are the first of their kind in the nation.

Lake Superior State University hopes to capture the attention of cannabis entrepreneurs looking for qualified workers in both chemistry and the business of cannabis. The school plans to become a national leader in preparing professionals for the cannabis industry.

“The LSSU Cannabis Center of Excellence was created to provide a platform for our students to be at the forefront of the cannabis analytics industry," Dr. Steve Johnson, Dean of the College of Science and the Environment, said in the press release. "The instrumentation available is rarely paralleled at other undergraduate institutions.”

Much of that instrumentation came courtesy of a partnership with Agilent Technologies, which provided $2 million in equipment for the new center, according to The Mining Report. Students will use the scientific instruments in coursework and faculty-mentored undergraduate research.

Related: Can Cannabis Cure Cancer? What The Research Says, And Claims To Avoid

The school also plans to mold tomorrow’s cannabis business leaders.

In what may become the first of others around the country, Lake Superior State University also is launching a cannabis business program. That program aims to produce graduates who become “managers, supervisors, and business development leaders within a commercial enterprise,” trained specifically for the cannabis industry.

That training includes courses in the local, state and federal laws governing the cannabis industry, as well as the particular financial challenges marijuana businesses face. This includes the lack of financial services offered by banks because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.

While Lake Superior State University is the first to offer these specific programs, other schools also have started to offer weed-related courses. The Mining Report noted that other universities with cannabis-related programs include the Physiology of Cannabis at the University of California, Davis; Cannabis: Biology, Society and Industry at Cornell University; and Cannabis Law at Harvard Law School.

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