Thursday, March 27, 2008

A masters degree in marijuana

By Libby

Well, the political news is so toxic today that I need a break for a moment and this new higher ed program is just the remedy.

Welcome to Oaksterdam University, a new trade school where "higher" education takes on a whole new meaning.

The school prepares people for jobs in California's thriving medical marijuana industry. For $200 and the cost of two required textbooks, students learn how to cultivate and cook with cannabis, study which strains of pot are best for certain ailments, and are instructed in the legalities of a business that is against the law in the eyes of the federal government.

''My basic idea is to try to professionalize the industry and have it taken seriously as a real industry, just like beer and distilling hard alcohol,'' said Richard Lee, 45, an activist and pot-dispensary owner who founded the school in a downtown storefront last fall.
This is how legalized marijuana could jumpstart an ailing economy. All sorts of new enterprises would develop, almost overnight. They would be hiring Americans -- you can't outsource agriculture -- and there's room for advancement. The article notes entry level jobs paye little more than minimum wage but a master trimmer can make fifty grand a year.

On a related note, regular commenter Rainbow Demon unearthed this study -- U.S. Hemp Ban Hurts Environment, Economy

Los Angeles (March 13, 2008) - With oil hitting $110 a barrel and gas prices creeping towards $4 a gallon, the federal government continues to prohibit U.S. farmers from growing hemp, which could be used to efficiently produce biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol.

Hemp is also a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly substitute for polyester, cotton, fiberglass and concrete, according to a new Reason Foundation study that examines hemp's potential uses and the ways other countries are benefitting from it. Industrial hemp production is banned in the U.S. as an archaic consequence of the war on drugs.
Hemp, even more so than marijuana could provide employment and badly needed tax revenue and there are at least hundreds of small farmers just waiting for our government to come to its senses and legalize this non-narcotic industrial crop so they can jump into the industry. We're the last major country in the world that maintains a ban on its cultivation simply to protect the interests of the prohibitionists and corporate interests that would face competition for their inferior products in a truly free market.

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