Philadelphia’s weed economy is on its way to thriving, from specialized pitch competitions to a huge startup that made Philly its new home.
It seemed like only a matter of time before education started hopping on the bandwagon, especially after eight Pennsylvania universities were allowed to research the medicinal affects starting in 2018, and three were granted permission to grow it in June.
Locally, Jefferson University was offered $2 million in April to create a hemp research program, and students at The Wharton School created a Cannabis Business Club to connect with local cannabis professionals and reduce stigma.
But after calls from alumni, University of the Sciences announced Tuesday that it would create the first full-blown Philly MBA program featuring cannabis courses for pharmaceutical and healthcare students.
“Some of our alums have gone into the dispensary area and they’ve realized, ‘Wow, I have to do more than just dispensing marijuana, I’ve gotta take care of inventory, oversee budgets and things like that,'” said Andrew Peterson, executive director of the Substance Use Disorders Institute.
With the help of Franklin Biosciences, the institute and the University City-based school created courses in finance and regulation, marketing and sales as well as a general information course. Although a few other schools offer course options in cannabis, Peterson said this program is unique because it focuses on business instead of agriculture.
“Pardon the pun but [I expect the local cannabis industry] only to grow,” Peterson said. “There’s a lot of interest in medical cannabis for use in a variety of areas … to allow more people to have access to it.”
According to UScience’s representatives, any student can take the courses but priority is given to the MBA students, and there is no certificate for taking cannabis-related electives. Apply to the MBA program by Aug. 1.
PA is far from alone in its legalization of cannabis for medical use: It’s joined on the East Coast by New Jersey, among others. Stockton University, located a little over an hour from Philly, offers current students an option to minor in cannabis studies. The five-course minor requires students take classes in cannabis law and introduction to medical marijuana, as well as an internship in cultivation, business operations or something similar.
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy launched an MS program in medical cannabis science and therapeutics in June. It discusses topics related to medicinal cannabis and policy surrounding the drug.
“Medical cannabis has been legalized in 33 states, including Maryland, as well as in Washington, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico,” said School of Pharmacy Dean Natalie D. Eddington in a statement. “This number is only expected to increase in the future, fueling a demand for an educated workforce that is well-trained in both the science and therapeutic effects associated with this medicinal plant.”
Apply to the master’s program by Aug. 15.