Fact Check

Is this Michigan University the 1st in the US To Offer a Cannabis Chemistry Scholarship?

Lake Superior State University launched the cannabis chemistry degree program in 2019.

Published Apr 10, 2021

 (Cannabis Pictures/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Cannabis Pictures/Wikimedia Commons
In the fall of 2021, Lake Superior State University (LSSU) is offering their first scholarship for students in their cannabis chemistry degree program, also the first of its kind.
What's True

LSSU is offering a scholarship in the fall of 2021, for students who want to earn a cannabis chemistry degree, a program that was established in 2019. This scholarship is the first of its kind to be offered in this field. However...

What's False

LSSU's cannabis chemistry program is not the first of its kind. Northern Michigan University already offered a similar four-year undergraduate degree program in medicinal plant chemistry, which focuses on marijuana, starting in 2017.

A Michigan university is offering scholarships for an unusual degree starting in the fall of 2021: cannabis chemistry. In 2019, Lake Superior State University (LSSU) established a chemistry program focused on cannabis study.

According to the university’s website, they are the first such institution to develop this degree: “LSSU’s Cannabis Chemistry is the first degree program in the United States focusing on the quantitative analysis of cannabis related compounds and contaminants including THC, CBD, terpenes, etc.”

The scholarship offers $1,200 annually for students pursuing this degree and is funded by Steadfast Labs, a cannabis testing facility in Hazel Park, Michigan. This program allows students to graduate with an associate or bachelor-level degree.

According to the press release for the scholarship, “Applicants also must be at least sophomores and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Preference will be given to students who reside in Wayne and Oakland Counties, the service areas for the company.”

Their website details the chemistry program:

This exciting new cannabis degree program launched in Fall 2019 equips you with the knowledge necessary to gain employment in emergent cannabis markets – specifically within the scientific community. Combining a mix of core curriculum chemistry with cutting-edge cannabis courses, (such as Cannabis Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, and Cannabis Separations) you’ll gain a truly unique career-focused education. Cannabis Chemistry graduates earn over 600 hours of experience in state-of-the-art instrumentation laboratories and industry standard techniques, giving them the required proficiency to work in law enforcement, public health and safety, regulatory management, and business applications.

LSSU said there were projected to be 500,000 new jobs in the cannabis industry by 2022, as more states legalize marijuana and cannabis-related products.

While LSSU claims to have the first ever cannabis chemistry degree program, Northern Michigan University has been offering a Medicinal Plant Chemistry degree, which focuses on marijuana, since 2017. According to their website: “Medicinal Plant Chemistry at Northern Michigan University was the first 4-year undergraduate degree program of its kind designed to prepare students for success in the emerging industries relating to medicinal plant production, analysis, and distribution.” Their classes, and degree requirements are similar to those offered by LSSU.

While LSSU may not have been the first to offer a bachelor’s degree in such a program, it is the first scholarship in this field. We thus rate this claim as a “Mixture.”

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.