Rutgers Law School Adds Cannabis Law, Business Certificate for 2023

Rutgers Law School has announced a new program of study intended to teach students and business owners how to properly navigate New Jersey’s blossoming cannabis industry.

Registration has already opened for the Cannabis Law and Business certificate of study, which will officially commence in January 2023. Those accepted will spend six months learning the ins and outs of the New Jersey weed sector, with an emphasis on the stringent and often complicated regulations which prospective business owners need to be familiar with.

“This is the first program that Rutgers Law School has developed to support participants who are not [law] students or legal professionals,” a press release from the university said. “The curriculum has been developed specifically for New Jersey’s legal cannabis industry, making it highly specific to the needs of the local community.”

The program will be mostly online with two in-person sessions and has two certificate options for cultivators and retailers respectively. The entire course can be taken for $2,695 or individual topics of study can be purchased for between $600-$850. A limited number of scholarships may also be available to anyone applying for a cannabis-related social equity business license in New Jersey.

Rutgers Co-Deans Kimberly Mutcherson and Rose Cuison-Villazor said in a joint statement that “This new certificate is exactly the kind of work that we want to be doing as New Jersey’s state law school. Now that the state legislature has legalized the cannabis industry here, we want to ensure that we can provide crucial information to the citizens of New Jersey who want to enter this business, especially those from communities that traditionally bore the brunt of punitive outcomes before legalization.”

The six available class modules are as follows:

  1. Fundamentals of cannabis regulation in New Jersey – The history of legal marijuana in New Jersey with an emphasis on the CREAMM Act
  2. Regulatory compliance – Protecting your license by running a compliant cannabis business
  3. Cannabis business operations – Banking, branding, licensing, and more
  4. Locations and local government – A big challenge in New Jersey specifically where 70% of local municipalities initially opted out of allowing recreational marijuana
  5. Retail or Cultivation – Students choose one or the other depending on what kind of business they want to open
  6. Capstone project – A final project such as a business plan or an investor pitch with feedback from expert faculty

The announcement from Rutgers comes on the heels of New Jersey’s recreational cannabis market opening its doors in April, amid heavy speculation and concern surrounding the availability of product. However, other than some long lines, no one has reported running out of cannabis yet. That said, many in New Jersey have said that between licensing holdups, high property costs, and stringent zoning laws, New Jersey is not an easy place to open a cannabis business to say the least.

Rutgers is the latest in a relatively small number of universities that have elected to add cannabis studies of some kind to their class offerings. Though most cannabis-related college programs are either certificate-based or minor degrees; Cal Poly Humboldt, CSU Pueblo, and Lake Superior State University remain some of the few to create 4-year BA programs with the word cannabis in the title.

Not to be an ass or anything, but I feel obligated to disclose here that cannabis is still entirely prohibited from Rutgers University property due to its continued federal illegality, despite being legal for adult-use in New Jersey. To register for the program, click here.

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