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UNB Business Faculty Offering Cannabis Course Starting This Summer

Dr. Morrie Mendelson and Dr. Shelley Rinehart, two of six-person teaching team of the new Cannabis course for UNB's faculty of business. (Image: Rob Blanchard/UNB, Submitted)

SAINT JOHN – The University of New Brunswick is incorporating courses on cannabis into a few of its programs starting this summer.

A new course in the faculty of business at the Saint John campus will begin in intersession 2019. In the class, students will examine the effect that cannabis legalization has had on the Canadian business landscape. The course will be taught by a team of six faculty members.

“Our course is a survey course looking at the many facets of cannabis as an industry,” said Shelley Rinehart, UNB Saint John professor and MBA director, and a member of the six-person teaching team, in a news release.

“The history of the cannabis movement, burgeoning business opportunities in both medical and recreational sectors, as well as regulatory requirements and their implementation set the basis for the course. Students will explore the many policy implications and unintended consequences that are the result of the legalization of a formerly illegal substance. The end goal is to create case studies that will broaden educational opportunities in the future.”

The university’s hospitality and tourism program is also offering a course that teaches students about cannabis tourism and to consider cannabis tours as a career option.  The course covers best practice case studies from Amsterdam, California, Colorado and other locations to enable students to adapt those practices to Canada’s cannabis industry. By the end of the course, students will be able to plan and manage successful tours.

“Cannabis tourism is unique among tour offerings,” said Nancy Cheswoth, the course’s instructor. “It has grown quickly into a highly popular experience in those places where cannabis is legal. The aim of this course is to provide a comprehensive view of cannabis as a product of interest to tourists. When combined with the opportunity to learn about the tour business, this class is a chance for students to create an interesting and exciting future career.”

UNB’s department of social sciences also has a course dealing with the sociology perspectives of cannabis use in Canada. The class applies various sociological perspectives to understand the history, emergence and social implications of cannabis reforms and legislation and asks students to critically analyze the costs and benefits related to reform.

“Since the reforms are so new, we cannot determine the social impact yet, but we can start looking at ways to make informed value judgments about them. As a person in recovery for over 23 years and as a researcher working on issues of addictions, mental health and homelessness for 20 years in numerous U.S. and Canadian cities, I can tell you that there are no simple answers,” said Eric Weissman, assistant professor in the social sciences department.

“I can also tell you that any judgments must link observations of individual lived experiences with cannabis or other drugs within larger debates about harm reduction, safer cities, individual rights and more.”