February 10, 2014
Florida Looks To Higher Education With America’s First Cannabis College
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Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe OnlineFollowing Colorado's recent passage of a law legalizing casual marijuana usage, Florida is bringing a similar proposal to the ballot and one man is hoping to cash in on the vote by opening up a college devoted to cannabis.
Jeremy Bufford, the founder of Medical Marijuana Tampa, currently teaches classes about the many aspects of marijuana, including the history and legal perspective. However, if Florida votes to legalize pot then it could lead to a whole new kind of schooling.
"We're doing something innovative, it's education oriented. We're not trying to set up a shop where were selling drugs. We're trying to educate people," Bufford told Jason Beisel of ABC Action News.
The current class costs $499 and lasts for a month, covering topics like the pharmacological aspects of cannabis as well as the botanical aspects. The first class launched last week -- still several months ahead of the November vote, which will look to legalize the substance for medical purposes.
According to Medical Marijuana Tampa’s website, all classes for the higher learning experience are already full. The school is also currently hiring 15 positions, including a lab technician, botanist assistant, cultivation consultant and professor of cannabis.
"I've brought in experts that are far more informed about the product than I am. I've brought in professors from California. I've brought in growers from Michigan. I'm putting together a brain trust. The smartest, the best and the brightest to lead our organization into the future," Bufford told Beisel.
The classroom right now features grow spaces to learn to grow crops, but because marijuana is not yet legalized in the state they use other plants for students to practice on.
“Of course, we're very, very sensitive [that] it's not a legal environment [for growing marijuana], so we have peppers and tomatoes, so people can get comfortable using hydroponic and aeroponic systems,” Bufford told New Times. “We're preparing for medical-grade product -- it's far more difficult than putting a seed in the ground.”
Assuming Florida legalizes marijuana, then Medical Marijuana Tampa will open up five classrooms across Tampa Bay, 15 treatment centers and one laboratory. Bufford hopes this university will be useful for the medical marijuana industry.
"We do know according to the language that we'll be able to cultivate and we'll be able to procure that medicine on behalf of our patients,” Bufford told ABC Action News.
Bufford is looking for private investors to jump on board with the cannabis college train, hoping to gather up $10 million to add to operating costs and future growth.