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Major in Business, Minor in Cannabis: City University of New York Now Offers Degree in Weed

Meant to foster new leaders in the areas of testing, cultivation, business, and health.

This story originally appeared on Benzinga

Brooklyn’s historic Medgar Evers College (MEC) will become the first City University of New York (CUNY) campus to offer a cannabis minor degree program. 

Erik McGregor | Getty Images

In the coming weeks, students will be able to choose from 13 newly developed courses to earn a cannabis degree minor in one of four different tracks. These courses are open to all students at the other of the 24 CUNY campuses via e-permits. The program, spearheaded by the MEC Cannabis Education Taskforce, is housed in the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science.

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What it means

"MEC’s cannabis minor and forthcoming adult education program will feature the skill-building instructional support needed to foster new cannabis leaders in the areas of testing, cultivation, business, and health," the institution explained in a press release.

“As a botanist, I’m particularly pleased to see that the institution that I’ve been selected to lead is on the cutting edge of providing educational opportunities to learn about the many beneficial uses of plants such as cannabis and to provide the training necessary for our students to be able to compete for burgeoning opportunities in this new industry. Education is a key step in raising awareness of the non-recreational benefits of plants such as cannabis," Dr. Patricia Ramsey, president of Medgar Evers College, said. "Oftentimes, communities of color are the last to benefit from emerging economic opportunities. The science faculty and the business faculty collaborated in developing the minor in cannabis education; thus, exposing the students to the science, health, technical and business aspects of this new industry.”

RELATED: Why The Pandemic Could Be A Boon For Cannabis Education

Get with the times

Coinciding with New York State’s recent adult-use cannabis legalization, the program seeks to engage degree and non-degree students, faculty and staff, advocacy groups and community members, including the formerly incarcerated and those transitioning from the legacy market.

The program can serve as a resource for policy-makers through its diverse instructors and partnerships and support with organizations, multi-state operators, and state license holders including the cannabis leadership organization Women Grow, Berner's iconic Cookies cannabis brand, the Webber Wild Impact Fund led by five-time NBA All-Star, 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Chris Webber, medical dispensary giant Columbia Care (OTCQX: CCHWF), the Cannabis Advisory Group and NYC community-focused foundation Gotham Gives.

“We believe this program and future cannabis programs at MEC will serve as a model for other institutions of higher learning that can respond to socio-economic shifts through programming centered on community needs. Too often, colleges located in neighborhoods that once served as the battlegrounds in the failed war on drugs, are denied access to pivotal opportunities," said Gia Morón, president of Women Grow. 

Berner, co-founder and CEO of Cookies, agrees.

“Education will play a critical role in driving social equity within the cannabis industry. As the fastest growing industry in the U.S., it is full of opportunity, and a skilled workforce was needed yesterday. It’s a shame that universities have shied away from teaching the skills necessary for success. We are so proud of MEC for being a leader in this effort. We hope their bravery and hard work will blaze a trail for other institutions to follow. The work MEC is doing is very aligned with Cookies U, and we hope to partner with them on this meaningful initiative,” Berner said.

Author, and activist Steve DeAngelo, co-founder of Harborside Inc. (CSE: HBOR), (OTCQX: HBORF) and founder of the Last Prisoner Project will be one of an array of guest lecturers lending their expertise to the program. 

"The legal cannabis industry is New York City's most promising economic development opportunity," DeAngelo ended.