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Northern Michigan University unveiled a new program this week – medicinal plant chemistry. For those of us who don’t understand scientist-speak, the goal of this program is to understand and be able to analyze marijuana. This is the first marijuana-focused program at a four-year university in America.
So, what does this mean? Well, due to current laws, students and professors won’t actually be able to grow and/or test marijuana on campus. They will be applying principles to other plants, in hopes that post graduation they can use them to become cannabis entrepreneurs. Professors at Northern Michigan University have been cited as saying that they are hoping to revisit the program after the 2018 election cycle, with the goal of being able to grow and test marijuana on campus. Professors also stated that they created the program out of a perceived need, to fill lab positions in the cannabis industry.
But is this really a good idea? The future of marijuana is still uncertain – with it’s unchanging stance as a Schedule I drug on the federal level, as well as the lack of scientific studies supporting its efficacy as a medicine, more research is needed before an industry is created around a potentially harmful drug.