Hudson County Community College (HCCC) and LIM College launched their new transfer pathway agreement on cannabis studies on Tuesday.
The transfer program will provide HCCC students who earn an Associate’s degree in Cannabis Studies Business Administration the opportunity to transfer to LIM College. Once transferred, they can earn a Bachelor of Business Administration- Cannabis bachelor’s degree.
HCCC and LIM College Pioneering Cannabis in Academia
“We are really pioneers, I think, in trying to provide opportunities for our students … to have the skill sets needed to participate in this new rapidly expanding industry,” HCCC President Dr. Christopher Reber noted. “Both of our colleges are committed to a student-centered approach… and removing barriers. It takes a village.”
He also explained students will participate in an industry with opportunities and good wages.
HCCC Dean of Business, Culinary Arts, and Hospitality Management, Dr. Ara Karakashian explained graduates would join the supervisor ranks of dispensaries, lounges, marketing firms, and other cannabis companies.
He added that many local upcoming dispensaries support the program.
Training Cannabis Professionals and Advocates
“You are preparing our students not just for meaningful employment but advocacy for the industry,” Karakashian said.
More cannabis advocates are desperately needed. Most towns in New Jersey remain opposed to dispensaries. There are not enough advocates speaking at town council meetings and organizing friends, family, acquaintances, and community members in favor of a New Jersey cannabis industry favoring minorities and small businesspeople.
He noted they were expanding their curriculum to include cannabis cooking and baking, medicinal cannabis, chemistry, and biology.
“The options are endless with cannabis. We will work tirelessly to reduce the stigma associated with cannabis,” Karakashian added.
Michael Londrigan, the acting provost and chair of the Business Department at LIM College, said few institutions currently offer bachelor’s degrees in cannabis.
“We are pioneers. The business is growing,” he said.
Londrigan said they expect the cannabis industry to create 70,000 to 80,000 jobs in the tri-State area in the next 5 to 10 years.
He explained that while LIM College is focused on the fashion industry, cannabis industry courses in supply chain management, retail, marketing, and social equity issues are similar.
“I’m very excited to be here today. This is really groundbreaking here. It is really really a wonderful opportunity for all of us. The industry has been here a long, long time but not above board,” Londrigan said.
“The industry itself is up and down and on and fits and starts. It’s going to level off. It will get better, and those jobs will come.”
Cannabis Studies Advances
Additionally, LIM College Vice President of Enrollment Services Kristina Ortiz said their college also serves an urban, diverse community of students in person and online they seek to empower. She added they share many of the same values as well.
“Our faculty has many years of practical experience in the industry they teach,” she noted.
She also explained they launched their Cannabis Studies bachelor’s program last year, while Reber stated that certain students who transfer to LIM College from HCCC are eligible for a scholarship.
Noted cannabis advocate and attorney Jessica Gonzalez has been spearheading HCCC’s cannabis studies program. She is also leading the NJ Business Action Center’s (NJBAC) efforts to educate cannabis entrepreneurs.