Medical and PharmaceuticalNewsScience and ResearchUSUniversity of Maryland Launches First U.S. Medical Cannabis Master’s Program

Next fall, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy will offer a two-year master's program designed for health care practitioners, scientists, regulators, and industry professionals.
Avatar David JJune 25, 20195 min

For American students who don’t know what to study, medical marijuana is now an option. As the legal cannabis industry grows up and legalization takes root in new jurisdictions across the U.S., the University of Maryland is launching the country’s first medical marijuana master’s program.

With societal perceptions shifting and the legal cannabis industry becoming as legitimate as coffee or beer, colleges and universities are responding to the growing need for qualified employees by offering programs that advance science and policy. And next fall, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy will offer a two-year master’s program designed for health care practitioners, scientists, regulators, dispensary owners and industry professionals.

The Master of Science in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics program will “provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to support patients and the medical cannabis industry, add to existing research in the field, and develop well-informed medical cannabis policy.

College and university programs geared towards advancing the legal marijuana industry have been popping up in the U.S. and Canada the last couple years. And with the budding industry projected to be worth multi-billions in the near future, there’s no reason to believe that trend is going to slow down anytime soon.

Cannabis companies aren’t just former drug dealers operating legally, they’re built by lawyers, former banking executives and business professionals. Even the former Republican House Speaker John Boehner joined Acreage Holdings (CSE:ACRG.U) last year.

Companies are looking for trained and educated candidates, not just entry-level workers, which is where college and university programs will help progress the industry even further. And for students looking for cannabis careers, enrolling in one of those programs could give them a big advantage over other applicants.

Also, experience in the black market won’t translate to the legal industry, as individuals won’t have experiencing navigating cannabis regulations or policies.  And the demand for qualified employees is growing alongside the burgeoning industry:

Timing is going to be critical for us to grab an employee that has experience. … We need them now.

– Paul Chialdikas, VP of Sales and Marketing, Bedford Grow

With the rapid growth of the industry over the last few years, simply being familiar with all the new laws and regulations that vary from U.S. state to state, and Canada, is a tall task to fit into a few courses already. And with the floodgates starting to open on cannabis research to measure its therapeutic value and potential dangers, there will be a surge of academic content for students and prospective employees to learn.

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