Northern Michigan University to Offer Marijuana Studies Degree

This June 5, 2017, photo shows a marijuana leaf in the vegetative room at Alaska Cannabis Cultivators in Fairbanks, Alaska. Voters in parts of Alaska will decide in local elections on Tuesday, Oct. 3, whether to ban commercial cannabis operations, including retail stores and cultivation facilities. (Eric Engman/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner …
Eric Engman/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner via AP

Northern Michigan University now offers a degree in “medicinal plant chemistry,” which may be the first degree program dedicated to the study of marijuana.

In a post on the university’s website, faculty behind the new degree program explain that the historical stigma surrounding marijuana is quickly vanishing, thus making it an appropriate time for students to begin to study the chemistry behind medicinal plants.

“The historical stigma associated with cannabis is quickly vanishing, and although there is a surge in businesses related to the marijuana economy, there is a major gap in educational opportunities available to prepare people for this field,” the university’s website reads.

“No other 4-year undergraduate degree program in the world combines rigorous coursework in chemistry and biology with research and hands-on instrumental analysis built into the curriculum to prepare its graduates for a career in the cannabis industry,” it continues.

According to the website, earning a degree in “medicinal plant chemistry” will be required to enroll in a wide range of rigorous science courses such as organic chemistry, biochemistry, and plant physiology. In addition, students will be required to take accounting and financial management courses.

Speaking to The College Fix, a spokesperson for the university explained that the program is designed to produce graduates who are analytical chemists who understand the science behind medicinal plants such as marijuana.

“The new Medicinal Plant Chemistry degree was created to produce graduates who are analytical chemists. The program adheres to the highest industry standards and regulations and focuses on analyzing, precisely measuring and extracting active ingredients of medicinal plants, including cannabis,” Derek Hall, a spokesman for the university said.