Gone are the days of learning about how to grow and foster marijuana plants from a sketchy online video or your weed dealer. Now you can acquire knowledge of the subject in… school. A Florida institution, Medical Marijuana Tampa, has developed a curriculum to train eager pupils who want to understand all facets of the medical marijuana business. And with Massachusetts proving her grounds fertile enough to cultivate this new industry, one has to wonder if such facilities could plant their roots in the Bay State.
The answer is yes and no.
Twenty medical marijuana licenses were awarded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in January, green-lighting the sale of weed for therapeutic purposes. But unless some of those who were lucky enough to obtain at least one of the licenses, including former Massachusetts Congressman William Delahunt (who nabbed three), have been moonlighting as a drug trafficker without anyone’s knowledge, they aren’t exactly poised to build an immediately booming business.
Enter the likes of Medical Marijuana Tampa. On its website, MMT pledges to help students with the wisdom needed for “advanced hydroponic and aeroponic techniques used by our master botanists to produce medical-grade marijuana and introduce them to all the jobs available.” You can take a look at the syllabus below.
It seems like a no-brainer, really, that schools would start cropping up to service the needs of the industry. At least, an aspiring weed grower can hope.
“Whenever you have the introductions of a new industry, you would hope local higher-ed would provide training,” Professor Peter Ubertaccio, Director of the Joseph Martin Institute at Stonehill College, told BostInno.
But it’s doubtful that an independently-run school will open in the commonwealth. Rather, they’ll be absorbed by colleges and universities, which are the Bay State’s bread and butter, especially in Boston. In fact, Ubertaccio envisions a field that will offer the likes of certificate courses, associates degrees and graduate-level studies.
The only issue standing between Massachusetts and weed school isn’t policy or legality. It’s stigma.
“If we can shake off the restrictions of our Puritan past, our educated workforce, centers of higher learning and financial services industry leaders could take the reigns of the burgeoning marijuana industry to create jobs and grow the economy,” suggested Kevin Franck, former spokesperson Governor Deval Patrick’s administration and current consultant for the Environmental League of Massachusetts told BostInno.
And it’s not a mountainous obstacle to overcome. In fact, marijuana is generally becoming more widely accepted as states continue to adopt medical marijuana as a legitimate treatment and follow the lead of Washington and Colorado, the only two states to allow the recreational use of marijuana.
“As science continues to intrude on the illusion it has on that particular drug, it’ll become more accepted,” Noted Ubertaccio further.
Once it becomes more accepted and educational programs continue to spread, it’s likely that more jobs will follow and subsequently strengthen the state’s economy.
“Job growth in the professional, scientific and business sector helped to steer Massachusetts’ economy through the great recession and has shaped out workforce into one of the most education in the nation,” stated Franck. “The Massachusetts economy is built on innovation and it’s not hard to imagine that we could lead in the development of newer and better ways to cultivate and distribute legal marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes.”
For his part, though, Ubertaccio sees the development of medical marijuana schools and classes to have a more rewarding effect. Said Ubertaccio:
The bigger impact will be in the area of public health. People who suffer from debilitating disease will be able to find some relief. There’ll be a greater impact there than in the economics of it.