Northern Michigan University will host the first-of-its-kind Great Lakes Cannabis Education Conference on Tuesday, April 19. The conference will showcase best practices in cannabis teaching and research, summarize the industry's current state and developing trends, and provide insights from employers and experts.
NMU is well-positioned to host the event. It paved the way in cannabis education by offering the nation's first four-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. The university has since added an associate degree in indoor agriculture and two online accelerated certificate programs in cannabis operations and plant-based wellness.
Faculty and students from those programs will share research results and information on teaching related to cannabis. NMU's Medicinal Plant Club will host a community forum the night before the conference, at 7 p.m. Monday, April 18, in Jamrich Hall 1100. There will be a screening of the movie, The Cannabis Question, and a discussion of scientific research on the medicinal benefits, risks and consequences of cannabis use.
NMU medicinal plant chemistry senior Morgan Naumann said it was exciting to be among the student representatives who served on the conference planning committee.
“After watching Proposal 1 prevail in November 2018 and the uproar of the recreational market, it became evident how many different factors can play a role in the development of a cannabis product,” Naumann said. “This conference will be a place where students and community members can congregate comfortably to share their passions and interests within the cannabis industry. Hopefully, it will inspire others to spread ideas with their family, friends, and peers to expand upon cannabis research and education.”
“We are excited about the chance for students and faculty from NMU to share the exciting research and classroom opportunities for students interested in the chemistry of medicinal plants,” added Mark Paulsen, head of the NMU Chemistry Department. “We think it will be a great opportunity for our students and faculty to network with leaders in this emerging industry. “
Assistant Professor Evan Lucas said the conference will provide an opportunity for indoor agriculture students “to be exposed to multiple industries and career opportunities, and really learn something from the experts who have been trailblazers in this new and emerging industry.”
The presenting sponsor for the conference is The Fire Station Cannabis Co., whose co-owners and co-CEOs are both NMU alumni. Stosh Wasik graduated with a finance and risk management degree in 2012. Logan Stauber completed his entrepreneurship degree in 2016.
“We are thrilled at the opportunity to sponsor the inaugural Great Lakes Cannabis Education Conference at Northern Michigan University this spring,” they said in a joint statement. “We believe the conference will serve as a springboard for meaningful conversations surrounding cannabis education and the industry at large.”
The event will spotlight student scholarship in a judged research presentation that will allow students to compete for scholarship awards funded through gifts to the NMU Foundation.
Industry leaders will share perspectives on the skills and competencies required to succeed, along with ideas for how universities can contribute to workforce needs by providing the most relevant education possible. Some of the industry-specific topics that will be addressed include product testing, genetic development, cultivation/agriculture, and business and supply chain management.
Other professionals participating in the event will explore legal, regulatory and public policy trends.
The conference is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Northern Center on campus. Registration is free for NMU students, $25 for other students and $50 for general attendees. To register, or for more information, visit https://nmu.edu/great-lakes-cannabis-education-conference/.