A Marijuana School Offers ‘Higher’ Education

The scene could be any classroom in any institute of higher learning: A lecturer goes into great detail about a complex topic. Students, in turn, scribble notes and wonder quietly what information they might need to retain for the final exam.

But in this case, the institute isn’t your traditional college or university. And the topic isn’t a traditional one, either — say, law, science or history. Or rather, it’s all of those topics woven together in relation to one of the world’s most prized commodities. Namely, a certain grouping of plants known as cannabis.

In other words, welcome to the school of pot.

How else to describe the academic program that is Oaksterdam University, a seven-year-old institute that offers schooling in all things marijuana? Although based in Oakland, Calif. — the school’s name is a combination of Oakland (known for its liberal marijuana laws) and Amsterdam (known as something of the global capital of pot) — Oaksterdam hosts classes and other programs throughout the country, including a recent three-day training program in Denver in conjunction with the Indo Expo cannabis trade show.

Although Oaksterdam is not accredited by any academic body, school leaders say they take their mission seriously. On the one hand, they consider theirs a vocational program, aimed at the thousands seeking jobs in an industry that’s become increasingly legit (marijuana is now approved for medical or recreational purposes in 23 states) and, as a result, increasingly sizable (legal sales are expected to reach $2.2 billion in 2014).

But on the other hand, they see their mission as just that — a mission. Oaksterdam doesn’t just want its students (and the school has welcomed some 20,000 to date) to become educated about marijuana. They also want them to become fellow marijuana missionaries, advocating for further legalization and spreading the word about the plant’s importance, medical or otherwise.

“We’re not just a school. We’re a state of mind,” said Oaksterdam executive chancellor Dale Sky Jones, speaking to the approximately 100 students who gathered in Denver.

– Read the entire article at Market Watch.