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CCSF raises bar on higher learning by offering Cannabis Studies degree – San Francisco Chronicle

In addition to smoking marijuana, college students can now major in it.

City College of San Francisco announced on Thursday it is planning to offer a degree in cannabis studies, which it says is the first of its kind in the United States.

“The degree is as an introduction to the complex biopsychosocial relationship of humans to cannabis in multiple cultural, institutional and interpersonal contexts,” CCSF officials said in announcing the cannabis studies associate of arts degree, suggesting that marijuana studies can be as much of a grind as any other college major.

Students will be required to take three three-unit cannabis classes — Introduction to Cannabis, Anthropology of Cannabis and Psychology of Psychoactive Drugs — and choose from other classes on such subjects as criminal justice, drug wars, and magic, witchcraft and religion.

“We’re behavioral scientists. We make everything complicated,” said Jennifer Dawgert-Carlin, chair of the behavioral sciences department which is offering the cannabis major.

Students will study marijuana as it relates to crime, race, income, business, revolution, religion and world history. They will do everything that can be done with marijuana except smoke it.

CCSF is a federally funded institution, City College Trustee Tom Temprano said, and federal law forbids cannabis students from partaking in cannabis — at least for now.

“Let’s see what happens in a Biden administration,” he said.

CCSF officials hope the new major — four years in the planning — piques student interest and boosts enrollment at the traditionally cash-starved campus. At present, the college is ready to welcome 100 or so cannabis majors.

The official description of the coursework required of all cannabis students suggests that cutting classes to light up is not a good idea.

According to a syllabus for Introduction to Cannabis Studies, students will explore the “social identity, regulation and enforcement (of marijuana) through the lens of social power and inequity.”

Students must write a four- to five-page paper “demonstrating an awareness (of) the role of mass media in shaping hegemonic narratives,” the kind of sentence best parsed while abstaining.

Psychatrist and pain specialist Dr. Michael H Moskowitz, MD, signs his latest book 'Medical Cannabis: A Guide for Patients, Practitioners, and Caregivers' for a patient on Thursday, February 22, 2018, in San Rafael, Calif.

Students enrolled in the Anthropology of Cannabis class will study the “archaeological evidence of cannabis use” by other civilizations and read up on such subjects as the “biblical representations of cannabis” in the Old and New testaments.

In Psychology of Psychoactive Drugs, students will make 3-D clay models of the nerve cells of drug users. Other CCSF cannabis classes offered through its extension division will deal with manufacturing and selling cannabis.

The hope, said Dawgert-Carlin, is that cannabis students will transfer to four-year colleges — even though, she conceded, no four-year college offers a cannabis studies program. Students will have to switch to other fields, she said.

All CCSF classes in the new major will have cannabis quizzes, cannabis homework, a cannabis midterm and a cannabis final exam. There will also be cannabis research projects — just not that kind of research.

Steve Rubenstein is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @SteveRubeSF

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