SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Lake Superior State University is launching the country’s first degree program focused squarely on the chemistry of cannabis. A bachelor’s degree with a major in cannabis chemistry will be offered beginning in fall 2019, along with an associate’s degree program in cannabis science. Students can opt in for an American Chemical Society (ACS)-endorsed degree.

LSSU aims to be a premier training center for the next generation of quantitative chemists for the cannabis industry, ready to start work as soon as they graduate. According to an LSSU press release, “More than 500,000 jobs will be created in the cannabis industry by 2022, outpacing technology and healthcare.”

LSSU President Dr. Rodney Hanley says, “Our cannabis chemistry graduates will lead the cannabis agricultural and pharmaceutical sectors by developing standards for production, regulation, and safety, just as chemists develop and qualify processes and products that form the backbone of any modern society.”

An LSSU cannabis chemistry degree not only helps meet an expanding market demand in cannabis, it incorporates a foundation in organic chemistry, instrumental analysis and biochemistry. Graduates have the opportunity to gain skills — often to develop new techniques — that set benchmarks for cannabis production, and quality control, including safety and testing.

“Laboratory chemists develop and implement techniques using highly sensitive tests to detect and measure specific chemical compounds that are critical to law enforcement, regulatory affairs, and to ensure the public’s health and safety,” says Barbara Keller, professor and past chair of the School of Science and Medicine.