Diane Bell: San Diego-area colleges are going to pot

Diane Bell, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Business News

Higher education is getting even higher.

The legalization of marijuana for medicinal use in 33 states and for recreational use in 11, including California, is giving birth to a cannabis cottage industry and with it a new educational field.

Last August, the University of California, Davis, known for its agricultural curriculum, added a Cannabis and Hemp Research Center that assembled experts in marijuana law, business, cultivation, medicine, psychiatry and veterinary treatment. It also offers courses in hemp breeding, seed production, genetics and pharmacology.

Tiny Pacific College of Health and Science, with one of its three U.S. campuses in San Diego, is getting the word out about its cannabis component. "Become a master of marijuana," it advertises, touting "the first college-level, accredited medical cannabis certificate in the nation." One of its programs caters to health care professionals and another to non-health care professionals.

Last November, San Diego City College began offering a two-unit course on the business of cannabis cultivation for budding entrepreneurs.

This fall, the private Catholic Church-affiliated University of San Diego is jumping on the weed bandwagon through its continuing education program, which enrolls 16,000 students a year. With the COVID-19 pandemic curtailing on-campus education, online programs have become even more crucial.


Marijuana has long been a subject for study. In the year 2000 the University of California's San Diego campus established a Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to examine the plant's effects on health and possible uses for treatment of pain and specific diseases.

With unemployment skyrocketing, though, the blossoming cannabis business as a potential job market has gotten universities' attention.

USD and four other U.S. colleges, including UC Riverside, are teaming up with Green Flower Media, a cannabis education company, to offer an online six-month certificate program designed to fill jobs in the growing legalized marijuana industry.

As part of the partnership, Green Flower provides the educational materials and promises preferential consideration for job placement through its employer network, including CannabizTeam, a national recruiter headquartered in San Diego.


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