CANNABIS COURSES Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
WHY IS Mt. SAC OFFERING CANNABIS-RELATED COURSES?
The Mt. SAC Mission Statement reads in part that we “provide quality education, services, and workforce training, empowering students to attain success in an ever-evolving diverse, sustainable, global society.” Consistent with our mission, Mt. SAC offers courses, certificates, and degrees to educate and prepare students for employment in the legal cannabis industry, which is large and growing. While both “marijuana” and “industrial hemp” are different varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis Sativa L., the 2018 Farm Bill removed “industrial hemp” from the federal definition of “marijuana,” which is a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, “industrial hemp” is not a controlled substance. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical uses of cannabis. Today, 40 states plus Washington, DC now have laws that allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and 22 states plus Washington, DC permit adult-use. Our courses discuss the history, legal and compliance issues, and cultivation of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, but not growth or possession of any strain of Cannabis Sativa L.
HOW WAS IT DECIDED TO OFFER THESE COURSES AND PROGRAMS?
As with any new course or program of study, faculty in academic departments offering related courses, various college and community committees, college administrators, advisory committee members, and other stakeholders such as the Los Angeles Regional Consortium (LARC) are consulted prior to developing and offering new courses. All offerings must obtain approval through the College’s curriculum processes, meet accreditation standards, assure compliance with Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations statutory requirements, and comply with Mt. SAC Community College District's policies on course prerequisites, corequisites and advisories on recommended preparation.
IS MT. SAC ENCOURAGING STUDENTS TO JOIN THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY WITH THESE COURSES?
Mt. SAC does not take a position on which lawful industries students choose to enter. We believe that Career Education should provide students with knowledge and skills to help them succeed in their chosen career. MT. SAC coursework provides students with knowledge, information, and awareness of the opportunities available across a wide array of industries. We continually adapt our curriculum to prepare students for success in growing industries such as the legal cannabis industry.
USES OF THE CANNABIS PLANT: “HEMP” VERSUS “MARIJUANA”
Both “hemp” and “marijuana” are from the cannabis plant but are cultivated for different purposes. Under federal law, industrial hemp contains a concentration of 0.3% or less of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the compound in marijuana known for its psychoactive effects (the euphoric “high”). Cannabis strains high in THC are used for medical purposes, such as pain management, treatment of nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, as an appetite stimulant, and is also approved for recreational use in 22 states, including California. Hemp is used in the production of a wide range of products, including food and beverages, cosmetics and personal care products, nutritional supplements, fabrics and textiles, construction and insulation materials, and other manufactured goods. In addition, the cannabis plant is used to produce non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD), which has also shown promise in a variety of medical applications. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabis with a THC content of 0.3% or less, is no longer considered a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Educationally, the biology, growth, and development of the cannabis plant make it a highly versatile and effective tool for demonstrating important concepts in plant science, botany, horticulture, and sustainable agriculture.
WILL YOU HAVE OR GROW CANNABIS ON CAMPUS?
No. Mt. SAC continues to be a “Drug-free Campus.” Mt. SAC policies prohibit the possession, consumption, sale, distribution, or delivery of any substance listed in Schedules I through IV of Section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. Section 812) on campus. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabis with a THC content of 0.3% or less is no longer considered a Schedule I substance and therefore is not illegal under federal law. The college will continue to follow all federal, state, and local laws related to “marijuana,” which is still a Schedule I controlled substance and illegal under federal law. Institutions of Higher Education, such as Mt. SAC, may cultivate “industrial hemp” consistent with state and federal law. However, there are no plans to grow or handle cannabis on campus. Plants that grow similarly to cannabis, such as tomatoes or hops, will be utilized to teach the horticultural concepts in the program.
ARE STUDENTS TAKING THESE COURSES ELIGIBLE FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS?
These courses are not eligible for federal financial aid at this time. For information on financial aid, contact the Financial Aid office at email@example.com or 909-274-4450.
WHAT PLANNED PRACTICAL EXPERIENCES ARE INCLUDED IN THESE COURSES?
Plants that grow similarly to cannabis, such as tomatoes or hops, will be utilized to teach the horticultural concepts in the program. There may be opportunities to study the cannabis plant on an approved field trip to or work experience at an industrial hemp farm, laboratory, or other business that engages in activities that are legal under California law. Students may have the opportunity to meet, network with, and read or hear presentations from professionals working in cannabis industries that are legal under California law. These interactions may be on campus or during an approved off-campus activity. Course activities and expectations are described in the course syllabus. As a “Drug-free Campus,” Mt. SAC prohibits the possession, consumption, sale, distribution, or delivery of any illegal substance on campus and during field trips.
WHO SHOULD STUDENTS, PARENTS OR THE COMMUNITY CONTACT IF THEY HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROGRAM?
For information or for questions about Mt. SAC’s Cannabis Studies Program:
Denise Bailey, Dean, Natural Sciences Division
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Telephone: 909-274-4425
Chaz Perea, Faculty Member, Horticulture Program
E-mail: email@example.com | Telephone: 909-274-5892
Dejah Swingle, Associate Dean, Career Education & Strong Workforce
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Telephone: 909-274-5894
Jill Dolan, Director, Public Affairs
E-mail: email@example.com | Telephone: 909-274-6119