Northern Michigan University offers a degree marijuana enthusiasts will be interested in – the medicinal plant chemistry. Importantly, it pays.
While talking to CNBC Make It, Brandon Canfield, the associate professors of analytical chemistry behind this program stated all their graduates would be qualified to be analysts in a lab setting. This could allow students to land positions that pay about $70,000 right out of high-school.
That said, students have to graduate first. And as Alex Roth, Northern Michigan sophomore who is also one of the program’s earliest participants, this is not an easy endeavor. And it is easy to appreciate this sentiment; Alex still has 400-level classes such as Liquid Chromatography and Biostatics to go through.
What do the people in detroit think of this program?
Roth while talking to Detroit Free Press, however, says people’s perception of this program is that of a secure application that involves growing marijuana. This is a complete opposite of the reality as the degree is difficult.
Furthermore, the program does not cover horticulture. Instead, it combines courses on biology, chemistry, financial management, and marketing. Canfield further empathizes that despite many people asking whether the program entails growing marijuana, there is no marijuana growing of any kind.
There are two main tracks students can follow regarding their major. One of them focuses on bio-analytics. Canfield reckons students with this major will be strong job candidates as they will have completed an independent study.
The other option is mainly for aspiring and budding entrepreneurs. This track, however, does not yet have a clear career path. Canfield suggests that such individuals might open a growing operation, starting small with an in-house lab.
Canfield also states that the program currently has a small sample set of student, and, therefore, it is difficult to determine where the most significant interest will be. Nonetheless, there are plenty of students enthusiastic about following the entrepreneurial track.
On his part, Canfield got the idea for the program while attending a meeting organized by the American Chemistry Society, wherein he heard from some members of the cannabis chemistry subdivision.
Canfield stated that the lack of competency and preparedness in many of the analytical labs was a recurring theme. He further says that many of the speakers in the meeting were expressing a need for skilled lab technicians, analysts, and individuals with oversight capabilities. Being an analytical chemist, he saw an opportunity.
The Detroit Free Press estimates the revenue from medical marijuana at about $700 million. The publication further notes if we implement full legalization, the revenues from the industry will increase enormously.
Canfield finally notes that legalization of marijuana is sweeping across the country. And just as it is the case with favorite foods today, an increase in demand for the products will come to cause an increase in regulation. Consequently, the increased regulation will increase the need for this kind of analysis.