Daily News

AIC to Offer Graduate Program in Cannabis Science and Commerce

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) will offer a master of science program in cannabis science and commerce beginning in the fall of 2020, the first of its kind in this region.

The 30-credit, hybrid graduate program is designed for individuals interested in a career in the cannabis industry and will provide students with an understanding of the science, business, and legal issues associated with the cannabis industry. The program offers education in the areas of basic science, including chemistry, horticulture, cultivation, uses, and delivery systems; business management, marketing, and operations; and federal and state laws and policies.

According to a March 2020 jobs report issued by Leafly, the world’s largest cannabis website, over the past four years, legal cannabis has supported nearly a quarter of a million jobs. That equates to a 15% annual uptick in employment. The multi-billion-dollar cannabis industry continues to be the single greatest job-creation engine nationally, growing at a faster rate than any other industry in the same timeframe.

In the Northeast, Massachusetts is among the top 10 states across the county where cannabis jobs exist. Moreover, reported retail sales to the Cannabis Control Commission were $420 million in 2019.

Smaller markets like Maine and Vermont, which previously legalized recreational marijuana without allowing sales, may finally see regulated stores open in the coming year. Still, in Vermont, the medical-marijuana industry realized $14 million in sales with nearly 300 jobs last year. Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island all have medical-marijuana dispensaries. With 14 dispensaries statewide, Connecticut served nearly 40,000 patients with estimated sales approaching $60 million, supporting nearly 1,400 jobs. New Hampshire also realized growth, albeit on a smaller scale, with a $22.5 million market and more than 400 jobs. Rhode Island has posted nearly 50% year-over-year growth, topping $50 million with more than 1,000 jobs.

“American International College is excited to introduce a graduate-level program that offers courses focused on developing business acumen in a field that is experiencing a meteoric rise,” said Mika Nash, AIC’s executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “AIC is positioning itself to be an educational leader in this flourishing industry in order to ensure our students have job opportunities upon graduation.”

With medical marijuana legal in 33 states and Washington, D.C., and recreational marijuana now legal in 11 states and the nation’s capital, the U.S. Cannabis Report 2019 Industry Outlook projects annual sales of medical and recreational cannabis will continue to rise over the next several years, reaching nearly $30 billion by 2025. Both nationally and regionally, this rapidly emerging market offers burgeoning employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for the future.

For more information regarding the AIC’s master of science program in cannabis science and commerce, visit www.aic.edu/cannabis.