The Colorado Commission on Higher Education has approved a bachelor of science in cannabis biology and chemistry at Colorado State University-Pueblo, the state education department announced on Friday. The degree program is the state’s first related to cannabis.
Students enrolled in the program – which will be part of the university’s chemistry department – can choose either a track focused on natural products or an analytical track focused on chemistry, according to a CNN report. The natural products route is focused more on the biology of cannabis, including courses on neurobiology, biochemistry, and genetics. The analytical chemistry track focuses on chemical compounds. However, despite cannabis’ legal status in Colorado, students won’t be able to work with THC-rich plants due to federal laws and the fact that CSU gets federal funding. The lab is permitted to cultivate industrial hemp and CBD-rich plants.
CSU-Pueblo estimates as many as 60 students could be enrolled in the major after four years.
David Lehmpuhl, dean of CSU-Pueblo’s College of Science and Mathematics, described the program as a “rigorous degree geared toward the increasing demand coming about because of the cannabis industry.”
“Hemp and marijuana has really come to the forefront in a lot of economic sectors in the country. We’re not pro-cannabis or anti-cannabis. What we’re about will be the science and training students to look at that science.” – Lehmpuhl, to the Denver Post
CSU is also planning on opening a new research center in the spring at their Fort Collins campus dedicated to studying cannabinoids. That center will be at least partially funded by a $1.5 million donation from Panacea Life Sciences CEO Leslie Buttorff.
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