New York college introduces cannabis minor
Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College is the first in the City University of New York system to offer a cannabis minor degree program.
Students can now enroll in “Introduction to the World of Cannabis,” a prerequisite course for many of the other cannabis courses in this degree program. In following semesters, students can choose four courses from any of the 13 newly developed courses to earn a minor in cannabis in one of four different tracks (testing, cultivation, business and health).
The program is also available to all students at the other 24 CUNY campuses via e-permits.
The program was spearheaded by the MEC Cannabis Education Taskforce and is housed in the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science. The taskforce consists of four members (two faculty and two alumni). The faculty leads are Dr. Alicia Reid, chair of the chemistry and environmental sciences department, and Dr. Micah Crump, professor of business and entrepreneurship. Alumni Vikiana Clement, a corporate software engineer and entrepreneur, and Joel Strothers, a civil and environmental engineering Ph.D. student at Princeton University, round out the team.
MEC plans to tap into diverse experts throughout the cannabis space to serve as instructors. For example, Michael Zaytsev, the author of “The Cannabis Business Book” and founder of influential New York City cannabis education and networking community High NY, will lead its introductory course.
“As a botanist, I’m particularly pleased to see that the institution that I’ve been selected to lead is on the cutting edge of providing educational opportunities to learn about the many beneficial uses of plants such as cannabis and to provide the training necessary for our students to be able to compete for burgeoning opportunities in this new industry,” MEC president Dr. Patricia Ramsey said in a press release.
The program is also designed to serve as a resource for policy-makers through its diverse instructors and partnerships and support with organizations, multi-state operators and state license-holders including the cannabis leadership organization Women Grow, the Cookies cannabis brand, medical dispensary giant Columbia Care, the Cannabis Advisory Group, the New York City-based community-focused foundation Gotham Gives and the Webber Wild Impact Fund, led by Basketball Hall of Famer Chris Webber.
— Brian Beckley
New York governor appoints regulators
In one of her first moves after taking over the reins, new New York Governor Kathy Hochul made two appointments to the state’s Cannabis Control Board, reaffirming her commitment to the state’s nascent recreational cannabis industry.
Hochul in September announced that the state Senate confirmed Tremaine Wright as chair of New York’s Cannabis Control Board and Christopher Alexander as executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management. The confirmations were made during an extraordinary session of the New York State Legislature, and these are the two first confirmed nominees of Hochul’s administration.
The Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management will create and implement a comprehensive regulatory framework for New York’s cannabis industry, including the production, licensing, packaging, marketing and sale of cannabis products.
Wright, the new Cannabis Control Board chair, is a former member of the New York State Assembly and currently serves as the first director of the Statewide Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment. An attorney, entrepreneur, small business owner and activist from Brooklyn, Wright has dedicated her career to empowering and creating opportunities for her neighbors and her community.
A graduate of Duke University and the University of Chicago Law School, Wright has served as chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus and chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Foster Care.
Alexander is a criminal justice reformer, advocate and policy expert from Queens. He previously worked for the New York State Democratic Party, as a legislative aide to Congress, as a policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance and as counsel to the New York State Senate where he managed the work of several committees providing oversight over the affairs of New York City and over New York State’s criminal justice system. He is also the architect of the Start SMART NY campaign to end marijuana prohibition and the lead drafter of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, New York’s marijuana legalization bill.
“These two individuals bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their new roles, and I know they will do a tremendous job of outlining and implementing regulations that are safe, fair and transparent, and that recognize the need to remedy the impact that prohibition has had on communities of color,” Hochul said. “I look forward to working with them on building our state’s cannabis industry and effecting real change for New Yorkers.”
— Brian Beckley