Majoring in Marijuana: Studies in Cannabis Have Sprouted All Over NJ

As career opportunities in the billion-dollar cannabis industry grow rapidly, local colleges and universities are getting in on the action.

Man with clipboard and pen assessing growing marijuana plant
Photo: Shutterstock/Johnstocker Production

Since licensed sales of recreational cannabis became legal in New Jersey in 2022, career opportunities in the billion-dollar industry have grown rapidly—and some colleges and universities in the state are getting in on the action.

Rowan University’s new Institute for Cannabis Research, Policy & Workforce Development has classes and degrees in three tracks: the Center for Cannabinoid Science and Therapies, the Center for Workforce Development, and the Socio-Behavioral, Security and Law Enforcement Cannabis Center. Rowan also offers two certificates in cannabis studies in its School of Professional Studies programs, for those looking to gain a better understanding of the socio-behavioral, legal impact and enforcement aspects of medical and recreational cannabis. The certificates are in both undergraduate and graduate programs.

Rowan University Provost Tony Lowman

Rowan University’s cannabis classes “fill up the minute we offer them,” says Provost Dr. Tony Lowman. Photo: Courtesy of Rowan University

The cannabis classes have been extremely popular with students at Rowan, says Provost Dr. Tony Lowman, adding that the institute started in late 2021.

“The cannabis classes fill up the minute we offer them; the science tracks have good numbers, too,” he says. “We’re seeing a broad spectrum of jobs being created around this industry, and there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Rowan also has a new cannabis apprenticeship training program, with its first cohort taking part now, says Lowman. The school has developed partnerships with trade unions, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and companies that have received retail cannabis licenses in South Jersey. This pilot program is one of the nation’s first dedicated to training workers in the growing cannabis retail field.

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Some of the other cannabis-studies programs available in New Jersey include Mercer County Community College, which offers a medical cannabis training program. It also has six scholarships available to anyone demonstrating financial need; tuition waivers are offered to veterans. Union College also offers training programs for careers in the cannabis industry, and Stockton University has an online cannabis-studies certificate.

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