College is a time where young adults are supposed to get out on their own, learn to take care of themselves, and figure out what they want to do with their lives. Cannabis in its various forms is frequently a staple in that journey. Yet, one community college class in San Diego, California is taking what used to be an extra-curricular activity and bringing it into the classroom. San Diego City College offers a two-credit course entitled, the Business of Cannabis. This course is the
first publicly subsidized college course on cannabis in California.
“Many people thought this is crazy,” recalls Leroy Brady, Ph.D. “This will never go – you’re teaching people to smoke pot.” Brady is the business department chair at San Diego City College and is also the professor who is teaching the course.
The course, however, was not simply a pre-semester epiphany for Brady, though. This is an idea that he has built upon for several years. Brady admitted that when he first pitched the idea, several years ago, a few of his academic peers laughed.
“I’ve been referred to as the ‘pot doctor’ or the ‘pot professor,’” says Brady, who shrugs off the names as jokes. After all, there is nothing funny about the fast-growing legal marijuana industry that is exploding in California and expanding throughout the rest of the United States.
Leafly, a Cannabis information website claims that in 2019, there are 211,000 full-time jobs created within the legal Cannabis market. Leafly also predicts the cannabis economy will create over 10,000 new jobs in California alone.
“We’re showing that there’s a way to make money in the cannabis industry,” says Brady. “I mean it’s a billion-dollar business right now, and many corporations are getting into it. It’s on the stock exchange!”
Brady’s goal is to help expand his student’s aspirations and expectations of employment in this growing industry, by introducing them to streams of income that stretch far beyond growing marijuana. The course explores the business of Cannabis, which includes the details of running a dispensary and the need for supporting businesses; such as accounting, packaging and security. “Most people think about cannabis as the growing and the dispensary - and that’s it,” says Brady. “But there’s a lot in between and around it in terms of other businesses.”
Brady is also quick to point out that there will not be any actual marijuana in the classroom. “I’m leading them to knowledge,” says Brady. “Not necessarily to smoke.”
Brady’s justification for this class is that a community college is uniquely positioned to encourage students who otherwise might not have access to the right information about this lucrative industry. There's opportunities for women and minorities to get into this field and to be successful in this field,”
The course costs $92 which is significantly cheaper than the cost of taking a class at a four-year institution. Plus, there is a list of accomplished speakers for the class, that include State Assemblyman Todd Gloria and State Treasurer Fiona Ma. Going forward, Brady hopes that this class is only the first of many and will eventually have the opportunity to expand the course into a certificate program.