Students at Stockton University have the option to minor in the area of cannabis studies.

The Cannabis Institute is up and running at William Paterson University, as a resource for policymakers.

And most recently, Union County College inked a deal to support the school's medicinal plant chemistry field.

While marijuana use is still illegal at the federal level, colleges and universities throughout the Garden State are boarding the educational weed train before it moves too far ahead. The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has been legal in New Jersey for years, and legalized recreational use is a top priority of Gov. Phil Murphy.

"The cannabis industry is a complicated industry. There's so many different facets to it," said Scott Rudder, president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association. "And we want to make sure that the people in the workforce have that basic background, basic understanding of the plant, as a medicine first."

NJCBA has established agreements with three higher-ed institutions in the state — Stockton, Atlantic Cape Community College, and Union County College —to help develop courses and create certification programs that would ideally lead to a more professionalized cannabis industry in the Garden State.

"Last week you worked at Starbucks and this week you're working at a dispensary. We want to make sure you have the proper training and background to be effective in that job," Rudder said.

Rudder said over time, all colleges and universities in New Jersey will offer courses in cannabis.

"And this will all start to dovetail into further research," he said.

Other countries have dedicated significant resources toward research into cannabis, specifically how it can not only treat ailments but stop them from occurring, and how various strains of the plant can impact individuals differently.

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