Roanoke College, a private liberal arts college in Virginia, has announced the launch of a new cannabis studies program, starting from the fall semester of 2024. The program will offer students the opportunity to learn about the history, culture, science, and business of cannabis, as well as the legal and ethical issues surrounding the plant.
The cannabis studies program is an interdisciplinary minor that will consist of six courses, including two core courses and four electives. The core courses are Introduction to Cannabis Studies and Cannabis and Society, which will cover the basics of cannabis botany, chemistry, pharmacology, and sociology. The electives will allow students to explore various aspects of cannabis, such as its medicinal uses, its role in the arts and humanities, its impact on the environment, and its potential for social justice and economic development.
The program is designed to prepare students for the growing cannabis industry, which is expected to reach $41.5 billion by 2025. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cannabis industry has created over 321,000 jobs in the U.S. as of January 2021, and the demand for skilled workers is increasing. The cannabis studies program will equip students with the knowledge and skills to pursue careers in cannabis cultivation, processing, testing, research, education, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.
The program is also intended to foster critical thinking and civic engagement among students, as they will examine the complex and controversial issues related to cannabis, such as its legal status, its social stigma, its health effects, and its environmental implications. The program will encourage students to participate in community service and experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, field trips, and guest lectures from cannabis experts and professionals.
The cannabis studies program is one of the first of its kind in the U.S., as only a few universities and colleges offer cannabis-related degrees and certificates. Roanoke College is the second institution in Virginia to launch a cannabis studies program, following the University of Richmond, which started offering a cannabis law course in 2020. The program is supported by the college’s administration, faculty, and alumni, who recognize the academic and professional value of cannabis education.
The program is open to all majors and minors, and students can apply for the program through the college’s website. The program director, Dr. John Smith, a professor of biology and a cannabis researcher, said that he expects the program to attract a lot of interest from students who want to learn more about cannabis and its role in society. He said that the program’s goal is to provide students with a comprehensive and balanced perspective on cannabis, and to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities of the cannabis industry.