A community college class in San Diego is giving a whole new meaning to “higher education.”
San Diego City College now offers a two-credit course on the Business of Cannabis. It’s the first publicly-subsidized college course on cannabis in California and Tuesday marked the first day of class.
“Many people thought this is crazy,” recalls Leroy Brady, Ph.D. “This will never go – you’re teaching people to smoke pot.”
Brady chairs the business department at San Diego City College and is teaching the course.
When the dean first pitched the idea of a course on cannabis several years ago, Brady says some of his academic peers laughed.
“I’ve been referred to as the ‘pot doctor’ or the ‘pot professor,’” says Brady.
Brady shrugs off those nicknames as jokes, but the fast-growing legal marijuana industry in California is serious business.
Leafly, a cannabis information website, predicts the cannabis economy will create more than 10,000 new jobs in the Golden State this year 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 hopes to expose students to how to roll up profits (legally) in the cannabis industry in ways beyond growing marijuana. The course will explore the ins and outs of running a dispensary and the need for supporting businesses -- like accounting, packaging and security –- opportunities prime for budding entrepreneurs.
“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.”
There will not be any actual marijuana in the classroom.
“I’m leading them to knowledge,” says Brady. “Not necessarily to smoke.”
Brady feels a community college is uniquely positioned to encourage students who might otherwise be left out of a lucrative industry.
"There's opportunities for women and minorities to get into this field and to be successful in this field,” says Brady.
The course costs $92 which is significantly cheaper than the cost of taking a class at a four-year institution.
A list of guest speakers includes State Assemblyman Todd Gloria and State Treasurer Fiona Ma.
Brady hopes to add more classes next semester and eventually expand the course into a certificate program.