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The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia to Offer First MBA in Cannabis Education


As the cannabis industry continues to grow, there is a continuous need for people who are educated on the plant. At the moment, most experts are self-taught through their own research because there has been little opportunity for formal education on the subject of cannabis  – whether it be as a medicine, a plant, or an industry. However, in recent years many universities have been adding cannabis-related courses to their curriculum, mostly from a healthcare and medicinal perspective. 

Now, students will have the opportunity to receive a Master of Business Administration degree – with the option to have a focus on the cannabis industry – at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

“We’ve seen rapid growth in an industry that needs business leaders,” said Andrew Peterson, executive director of the USciences Substance Use Disorders Institute. “Our MBA is concentrated on the pharmaceutical and health care industries, where medical cannabis fits very nicely.”

There will be four separate courses offered online, and the first will begin in the fall 2019 semester as a part of the MBA in Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business Curriculum. This first class will be the Introduction to the Medical Cannabis Industry, and the other three courses will include the Finance and Regulation of the Cannabis Industry and Cannabis Marketing and Sales. 

The school has a pre-existing partnership with Franklin Biosciences (a Denver-based grower that operates in Pennsylvania) that has helped them develop their cannabis education program for healthcare professionals including pharmacists, physicians, and students who plan to enter these professions. As a part of the MBA program, there may eventually be team projects that would have students write a business plan or attempt to launch a product. 

“We’ve already gotten interest from existing students,” Peterson said. “I don’t think we’ll get hundreds enrolling at the start, but we’ll get a good class. We usually enroll about 15 to 20 people in these classes. I think we’ll hit that target.”

Other than the fact that these courses are part of a Masters program, the thing that appears to set this program apart from others that have cropped up in recent years is the fact that it encompasses so many facets of the cannabis plant and industry. This program could provide the opportunity to educate those who are interested on not only on how the plant works in our bodies and in medicine, but also how to maneuver through this very new and highly regulated industry. 

The school does not expect many to enroll initially – hoping for anywhere from 15 to 20 students – but as cannabis becomes legal in more states, this type of education will become of greater interest, as well as more necessary.