Imagine Dexter and Bob Marley in a lab together, studying pot.
That’s what Northern Michigan University’s (NMU) new Medical Plant Chemistry programme sounds like. Students majoring in “the only four-year undergraduate degree program of its kind” will learn the foundation in chemistry and plant biology, as well as research about “experimental horticulture” and “instrumental analysis of natural product”.
The university aims to supply the personnel to the growing cannabis, herbal extract, and natural product industries, given their increasing legalisation in the US.
“This area is just exploding. I mean, you see Washington, Colorado, Oregon, California with full legal recreational marijuana. You’ve got over half the states with medicinal legal, and with all of that has come a huge need for these trained analytical chemists,” associate chemistry professor Brandon Canfield told WWJ’s Beth Fisher.
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“The need for this is so great. You go to some of these cannabis industry conferences and everyone is talking about how they need labs, they need labs.”
Before you get too excited, Canfield said the school will not be all hands-on with the programme. This means the school will not be growing its own marijuana until the laws around its cultivation are more flexible and students will not be smoking the plant as part of their coursework (Business Insider).
There are 12 students enrolled for the fall semester, but Canfield expects that number to double or triple next year.
“Everyone who hears about it seems pretty interested in it, and most people are pretty excited.”