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Castleton University Will Begin Offering Cannabis Studies Certificate Program This Summer

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Castleton University in Vermont will soon join dozens of other colleges offering courses in cannabis studies.  The 12-credit program will start this summer amid an era of new attitudes about marijuana.
A number of colleges have implemented courses in cannabis studies.  Ohio State has classes in marijuana law and policy.  Students at Stockton University in New Jersey can minor in cannabis studies. The University of Vermont has cannabis courses. Vermont Technical College is planning to offer classes and McGill University in Montreal plans to begin a one-year degree in cannabis studies in 2020.  
Castleton University will join the list this summer, according to  Cannabis Studies Group co-architect Joe Markowski. “There’s just so much we do not yet know due to the previous laws against cannabis in the state of Vermont that has prevented higher education to pursue research in this particular field. What we know about cannabis based upon its long cultural history: It’s regarded as one of the classic sacred medicines and has been a staple throughout world cultures. And so in light of the fact that Vermont has changed its cannabis laws this past summer of July 2018 this is just a fertile time to move ahead with such a program.”

Cannabis Studies Group co-founder Brendan Lalor says it’s a 12-credit certification program.  “Not only has it been legalized for medical and now recreational use but it’s at the center of issues relating to economic development within the state, to hammering out exciting policy inside the state and not to mention a variety of different types of social and cultural change inside the state. Frankly you know coming from a university academic context we think it’s an exciting opportunity for study an exciting opportunity for academic engagement. What could be more interesting than the absolutely contemporary issue that’s appearing in the headlines.”

Lalor explains that the three courses will cover the cannabis culture and social sciences, cultivation and care, and the emerging business of cannabis.  “In addition to the three courses we also have an internship or project requirement. So we really see the students engaging with the wider community whether it be in policy initiatives, business endeavors. And then that sort of engagement we see as a sort of bridge from certificate to employment.”

Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Director Laura Subin is glad to hear that the college is implementing the course.  “This is a plant that has been misunderstood for decades. I think the more education we do about cannabis in general both in the context of what it can do for people and their bodies and different illnesses and physical and mental illnesses I think that’s a very important education. And also to challenge the stigma of all the litany of ills that have been associated with cannabis and to understand it really on what it does and does not do to the body. Education is key and so we’re excited about these programs.”

Castleton will offer the cannabis studies classes each semester and the program is structured so that students can acquire a certificate within a year.

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