A medical marijuana facility in Tampa, Florida is being referred to as "Cannabis College" for offering its one and only course, "Education in Cultivation." The class aims to teach others how to properly grow and breed marijuana plants. But because federal law does not recognize marijuana as legal, restrictions are keeping would-be cultivators from hands-on experience.
A Times Higher Education (THE) report points out several factors hampering research: Because marijuana is not legal in Florida for any reason, Cannabis College is forced to use pepper and tomato plants to teach the process. Other universities, even in legalized states like Washington and Colorado, are bound by federal law to eschew growing marijuana plants on campus. Doing so would mean colleges losing their federal funding.
One professor at the University of Colorado Boulder is reported to have found a workaround -- an off-campus facility in an industrial complex. There he studies "strains provided by others."
Interestingly, permits to study heroin and cocaine are more easily attained than those for studying marijuana, states the report. But a recent farm bill, signed by President Obama, has an amendment that allows colleges and universities to grow hemp for academic or agricultural research in states where industrial hemp farming is already legal without fear of losing federal monies.
Not only would colleges and universities not have to worry about losing funding, but there are high stakes for the federal government as well, in the form of tax revenue. As the associate dean of Colorado's "Cannabis University" -- with the motto "The Harvard of Pot Schools" -- told THE:
It’s an industry that, if you’ve got 100,000 square feet, you can make $50 million to $80 million a year. To work inside these places, everyone in there needs to be trained. From kids in college up to senior citizens, they want to grow their own.